Spiritual Vision Church of God in Christ to celebrate 14 years

NILES — Spiritual Vision Church of God in Christ started its congregation with five members – a far cry from the more than 80 members that are part of it today.

This weekend the church celebrates its 14th year anniversary and Pastor Elijah Thompson said he will be proud to celebrate not just the growth of the congregation, but also the church’s growing outreach as well.

To commemorate the anniversary, the Christian Pentecostal church will host a celebration on Sunday. Two special services will take place at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the church, 871 Carberry Road. A special guest, Pastor James Stokes, of Grand Rapids, will speak during the services. A celebratory dinner will also follow. Thomson said the services’ theme will be about rebuilding spiritual foundations.   

Reflecting on reaching 14 years, Thompson, who has also been pastor for 14 years, said he was proud to see the church continue its legacy.

“I’m so excited,” Thompson said. “Personally, I’m thankful and I’m humbled. We want people to come out and celebrate something good that is happening in the city.”

The church building is the former site of the Washington Temple Church of God and Christ. Thompson served as an understudy at the church, prior to becoming Spiritual’s pastor.

Thompson said the church has initiated a number of efforts to serve people both in and outside of the church.

“The church has been in this community for quite a while,” Thompson said. “We have been very vital in this community.”

This Thanksgiving, church congregants donated food, packaging more than 25 baskets to hand out to people in need. They plan to do the same for the Christmas holiday. A food pantry is also continuously available to people.

The church also initiated a partnership with Notre Dame students to offer free tutoring services. In the past, they have also hosted free lunches.

On the horizon, the church is working on an $11,000 campaign to renovate the building. So far, they have raised about $4,000.

Thompson said the church will also be looking to add a youth annex to their grounds in the next three to four years. He said the building will seek to offer a place where youth can get free lunch, as well as a safe space for after school activities.

“I think it’s very important that we reach out to the community even if they are not members here,” Thompson said. “They don’t have to be a member for them to get help. We just help people in general from all walks of life.”

In his time as pastor, Thompson said he is proud of a number of accomplishments, but one sticks out in his mind. He said he got to be part of a missionary trip to Bogota, South America last year. While there, he had the opportunity to share the gospel and raise funds for those in need.

Thompson grew up in the Benton Harbor area. He was part of the Community Church of God and Christ, where he said he first found his passion for ministry. Thompson went on to earn a clergy degree from the Western Michigan Jewish Diction Seminary in Muskegon.

As a pastor who now holds years of experience, Thompson said he also has congregants to thank for the church’s longevity and impact on the community.

“One of our mottos here is strong families equal strong churches,” Thomson said. “Which allows the church to do more extensive projects.”

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