Anonymous donor pays off church’s debtPublished 8:20pm Tuesday, October 16, 2012
CASSOPOLIS — God moves his earthly vessels in mysterious ways, which is why Word of Life Family Worship Center burns its mortgage Sunday ahead of schedule.
“A gentleman from the community called and asked what we owed,” the Rev. Ron Cooper said Tuesday. “He said, ‘Meet me at the church.’ I met him the next day. He sat down in my office and said, ‘I’ve been watching you.’ I thought,
Oh, Lord. He said, ‘I like what I see, what you’re doing with the church and the youth.’ We have a real strong, vibrant youth program here. He said, ‘The Lord told me to pay the church off,’ and gave me the money to do that, but he wants to remain anonymous.
“It was in the thousands that we still owed.”
Cooper added, “He said if anyone asks, just tell them God did it.”
A week later, “I had another fellow come forth wanting to pay the church off.”
Apprised of the first gift, the second benefactor asked, “What else do you need?”
“We ripped out the old carpet, sanded under the pews and varnished,” Cooper said. “We’re supposed to be having new carpet put in this week, and that’s all bought and paid for. God’s been good, that’s for sure. He just sent them our way.”
The Rev. Rebecca Mitchell will be guest speaker for the 3 p.m. ceremony Sunday.
Sunday school debuts that day, too.
“She was very instrumental in helping us get this church,” Cooper said. “We’ve had it five years. She’s part of our United Christian Fellowship made up of about 14 area churches. She pastored Bethel out here in Calvin.”
Mitchell, formerly of Dowagiac, pastors Franklin AME in Niles and is a Three Rivers Realtor.
Quinn Chapel AME Church was established Nov. 12, 1888.
The current church at 408 Harding St., erected Oct. 25, 1953, is nearing 60 years old and sat empty for two years.
“There were birds flying around inside. It was a mess, with mold and mildew on the basement walls. We’ve done a lot of work,” he said.
Cooper is originally from Pontiac, but came to Cassopolis almost 40 years ago. His late brother, Albert, pastored the Lord’s House at M-60 and Decatur Road.
“I was his assistant,” Cooper said. “He passed away about seven years ago.”
He hadn’t expected to found a church, but “everything started popping and coming together.”
“We do our own program similar to AWANA and junior church,” Cooper said. “Most of our congregation is young, married adults. We’ve got 34 to 37 kids on a regular basis. My daughter does the junior church” downstairs.
Dawn Grant also works for Lewis Cass Intermediate School District.
Word of Life recently accepted new members from Kalamazoo.
The church installed a handicap ramp and new logo sign and is trying to buy an adjacent lot for more parking.