heartbeat of cabarrus tour
Pastor Corey Alley
My husband and I were recently looking for a new church home. Pastor Corey’s church was the first we visited. Before even attending a service, we knew Sojo was the right fit for us. We would drive to the store on Sunday mornings and see members of his congregation waving to the cars going by. When we decided to attend a service, I was struck by the diversity of the congregation and the welcoming/come-as-you-are spirit. We have attended every Sunday since that day.
When we sat down to discuss his role as a pastor in the community, I asked where he'd like to see Cabarrus change. “From my perspective what I wish was better is the church's relationship to helping build this community and its culture. I want our local churches to be more involved in school, local business, not for profits, and local government. How can we, as the church in the community, do more to contribute to the building spiritual needs of our congregants? I know many churches do a great job here, I just want to see more of this in our local churches.”
Reverend Donald Anthony
Grace Lutheran Church
Pastor Anthony has served in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod for 34 years. His church is one of several churches located in the Logan Community in Concord. I was immediately impressed with how well versed he was in the political climate of our county and how insightful his policy suggestions were in our discussion.
When asked what I should focus on as a state senator, Pastor Anthony mentioned the issues of affordable housing, healthcare, and public education. On the latter, he noted, we need policies in place “that assures our teachers and school administrators are fairly compensated, and the school system is properly funded.”
Rev. Kathy Randall Bryant
I met Pastor Kathy at an art event hosted by one of our local small businesses. She was absolutely a ray of sunshine! Sitting all by myself, she came up to me and introduced herself and asked who I was in return. We talked about the importance of community for about 30 minutes. I told her about my goal of meeting several pastors as part of this listening tour, and she happily agreed to meet with me for a more detailed conversation.
What I found unique about pastor Kathy was that she was also a biologist and has experience in epidemiology. Because of this background, she was able to educate me more on our public health system and how it struggles due to lack of funding. I also learned more about where she sees herself as a change-maker in the community. Pastor Kathy feels she is not just assigned to a church but rather to a community. She has a deep desire to “meet the needs of people inside and outside of the church walls.” When I asked Pastor Kathy what she felt needed to improve in Cabarrus, she expressed her belief that there is so much work to be done yet we're already so tired from all we've been through.
After speaking with the local faith leaders above I have learned:
Pastors and congregations want to be more involved in the community, and they are willing to build partnerships with different communities and organizations with the same objectives in mind.
The faith community loves that Cabarrus is a rich community with a diverse group of people who call it home, and they want to make it a place where everyone is respected and where religious liberty is upheld.
Not one entity should be charged with healing the community. but the church may be uniquely positioned to take the lead.