Greater Grace Temple helps people of Flint

Posted at 7:41 PM, Jan 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-25 19:41:33-05

For more than two hours Monday people lined up in their vehicles in the parking lot of Flint's historic Bethlehem Temple Church.

Parishioners and community members in need of bottled water had that necessity fulfilled thanks to the outreach of one of Detroit's prominent houses of worship.  

Nearly 50 parishioners from Greater Grace Temple traveled up I-75 on a church bus to distribute the water that had been gathered in just a week's time. 

"Water is such a basic and dire need that you can never have too many people bringing water," said Charles H. Ellis III, senior pastor bishop of the church. 

He issued the call for help to his congregation. The response filled two semi-truck trailers with bottled water, which floored Ellis.

"Never even imagine or dream that it would get up to almost 100,000 bottles of water," he told 7 Action News. "The people rallied, some of our community stores, they participated once they found out and you see now it's going to be a blessing." 

Church member Tyira Ganison said lending a helping hand was important. 

"We are our brother's keepers," said Ganison. "We are a community church and our arms stretch further than inside of Greater Grace Temple walls." 

Harold McWilliams is accustomed to providing assistance to others. A firefighter in Toledo, he regularly drives to Detroit to attend Sunday services at Greater Grace Temple. 

"I always feel awesome about doing something for people because I just believe that's what God wanted us to do down through the years is help your fellow man," McWilliams said. 

"For somebody to take time out of their schedules to help the people of Flint, it's tremendous and it's heartwarming for us," said Phillip Thompson, who has served as pastor at Bethlehem Temple Church for 11 years. 

All the donated water was distributed by 6:30 p.m. Ellis said it's likely he'll repeat the call for help for Flint within a couple of weeks time.