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People make Liberty great

Pastor's corner

POSTED: November 16, 2009 9:45 a.m.
Six years ago when my wife Judy and I drove into Hinesville on Highway 84, we quickly realized Hinesville is not an ordinary town.
There’s “Jimmy’s Big Crabs” as you approach. Pines, live oak and Spanish moss populate the wooded areas. Canals cut across the landscape. Mornings begin with the call to reveille as soldiers muster for PT. The “big guns” shake the shelves and walls of houses during endless training exercises.
Hinesville and Liberty County, however, aren’t unique because of these characteristics — they’re unique because of the people.
The people of Liberty County are soldiers who wear camouflage uniforms. They are people who smile and greet one another. They are people who accept differences in beliefs, races and cultures. People of many nationalities call Hinesville home. The people of Liberty County stand and die for the protection of liberty.
 Word of the city’s warmth and friendliness reached us even before we arrived in Hinesville. In the nearly six years that I have been the rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, I have found this to be true. As I served as the ex officio chaplain to the Hinesville Military Affairs Committee and volunteered with Manna House, I saw the hearts of the people of Liberty County focused on helping each other at every level.
Veterans and citizens built bridges from the community to the soldiers at Fort Stewart. Food and support poured into Manna House as the nonprofit’s need has nearly doubled. Giving through the United Way has not faltered even as the economy “tanked.” Liberty County is obviously a county that cares.
The Christian leaders from more than 150 churches try to help the downtrodden. The United Ministerial Alliance serves as an entity for Christian leaders to come together and coordinate their efforts.
I rejoiced when the Liberty County Homeless Coalition was created through the vision of Pastor Hermon Scott and the efforts of the city through Kenny Howard. I rejoice at the efforts of Leah Poole, who leads the United Way. I rejoice in the efforts of David Floyd, who leads a network of community support agencies in Family Connections. I rejoice as the many churches and the Kirk Healing Center reach out to help those in need. The list goes on, but the citizens of Liberty County certainly attempt to meet the call of Jesus.
“… for I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthews 25: 35-39) When the faithful asked, he said “ … just as you did it unto the least of these who are members of my family you did it to me.”
There are so many Liberty County residents in whose faces I have seen Jesus — their names would fill this space and more. May all of you, who have meant so much to Judy and me, continue with the love that Jesus calls us to have for Him and for each other.
We will miss each of you, but ask that God may bless you and let His face smile upon you and give you peace in this unique place, Liberty County.

Carter was the pastor at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church for six years. He is moving to Columbia County to lead a church there.
 

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