Beltsville: Pastor Unites, Veteran Shunned (Demo)

Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Center in Beltsville, is opening a new church in Orlando with the hopes of uniting Black and White people in worship, the Christian Post reported.  He’s had some experience with this in the past.  In 1981, Jackson and his wife founded and pastored a church in upstate Corning, New York that was 95% white.  Some of those members caught it bad for having a Black pastor and were even written out of a will or two.  Imagine that.  The Christian Post gave the details of the January 2014 opening of the Orlando church, Hope Connexion, “The Pentecostal Bishop and his partners say a new church plant in the Orlando, Fla.-area, scheduled to make its official debut in January 2014, embodies that vision and will hopefully serve as a catalyst for driving the Christian Church toward a new type of engagement and activism. Jackson and his team anticipate that those more inclined to issues of righteousness will be the first ones to walk through the doors of Hope Connexion Orlando, while they believe minority members will eventually follow suit.
 Bishop Harry Jackson“We believe [that] in this area…because of the area we’re moving in, it’s predominantly a Caucasian community although it is interracial, yes. We believe white Americans would be attracted to the church and probably come in the door first, but please know that our vision is to reach all types of people and to have a multiracial church,” clarified De Powell when asked about intentionally targeting white residents. Powell, an HILC representative and also a member of Jackson’s Hope Christian Church, relocated from D.C. to Florida to work with ministry strategist Doug Murren in getting Hope Connexion Orlando off the ground.
Hi Bishop Jackson:  
**Just a brief note from PGC Blog.  While I realize the word “connexion” has religious meaning (a religious society; a body of persons connected by either political (1767) or religious ties (1753); a circle of clients; a group of fellow worshippers), the word itself looks a little hoodish like one of those children’s names where the spelling only makes sense inside the myopic mind of the one who bore the baby.  Just a note from PGC Blog.

Ronny Porta served his country in the Marines.  It was in Iraq where he suffered a life altering and disfiguring injury that would bring him back to his Beltsville, MD home and make him the subject of stares, rude comments, and sideway glances.  USA Today did a great story on him and his family, “It happened May 5, 2007, six days before his mother’s birthday. Just before the blast, Porta exchanged looks with two other Marines in his armored Humvee: Master Sgt. Kenneth Mack, 42, of Fort Worth and Cpl. Charles Palmer II, 36, of Manteca, Calif.
 They were his best friends. The three were part of a convoy carrying building supplies in Al Anbar province when the bomb exploded beneath their truck. Mack and Palmer were killed in an instant. Porta, in the driver’s seat, was on fire. He remembers it all. The blackness inside an inferno. The strangely painless exhaustion. The temptation to just go ahead and die.  Then the driver’s door opening, the mystical presence of a long-deceased godmother leading him away from the burning truck, and his dead Marine buddies urging him on.Rescuers rushed to douse the flames, and all of a sudden, he was in agony. “It was like I was burning inside.

Ronny Porter
At his mother’s home in Beltsville, Md., Ronny Porta gets help with his shoes from his wife, Deicy. He was burned over 35% of his body. He had to have his right arm amputated and suffered facial disfigurement, the loss of his nose, damage to ears and eye sockets, and loss of fingers on his left hand.(Photo: Jack Gruber, USA TODAY)

I felt it on my face. I felt it on my brain. It felt like I was talking with fire.” 
Mr. Porta said of Beltsville, “This is home for me,” says Porta, 26, who grew up in suburban-Washington Beltsville after his family emigrated from Peru. “But sometimes, it’s kind of hard saying, ‘I am home.'”  Two months ago, a man approached Porta in a Home Depot. He stood studying the burns on Porta’s face and asked if a car accident was to blame. Porta, wearing a Marine Corps sweatshirt, said, no, it was an IED explosion in Iraq.  What really stuck with Porta and angers him still were the words the man said next: “Was it worth it?” Is it so difficult, Porta asks, to see that those who volunteer in defense of the nation know it can carry a price? “Freedom is not free,” he says, echoing an age-old American refrain.  
The way his home town people have received him are largely the fuel to Mr. Porta and his wife’s coming move to a small town in Virginia.  I’d like to ask the idiot who Mr. Porta came across in the Home Depot, was it worth it to make that comment to a person who defended your sorry hide in fields abroad?  Idiot.



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