The Rev. Major Stewart wasn’t always an activist preacher.
Stewart, who was installed pastor at Greater Mount Sinai Baptist Church in March, spent 16 years in Flint, Michigan, where the city’s lead-tainted water supply sickened residents and led to indictments against state administrators. The federal Environmental Protection Agency last month agreed to $100 million in funding to rebuild infrastructure, including water lines.
“It was a wakeup call to me,” said Stewart, who was pastor at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church for seven years. “That’s a physical picture of a spiritual reality. The church, for many years, has just been playing church and not really doing church. When the water crisis broke out, it really motivated me to do ministry beyond the four walls of the church.”
That meant getting out into Flint’s communities to build bridges and demand environmental and economic justice for the majority-black and mostly-poor city. While tainted water was the motivation behind the outreach, Stewart learned helping neighbors went beyond drinking and bathing.
“Prior to that I was complacent to do ministry within the four walls of the church with programs and building programs or building people within the church,” he said, “but since the water crisis, the churches that were serious about doing what the Scriptures say do, you had to go beyond the four walls of the church and that’s to go into the community and feed the people. Sometimes that meant taking water to homes, sometimes that meant paying doctor bills because of the negative impact of the poisoned water. Sometimes that meant meeting with community leaders and putting together a broader strategy.”
Source: The Charlotte Post | Herbert L. White