Religion News: Count helps gauge county's homeless

February 19, 2011 

  • Items for Harley's column should be sent at least two weeks in advance of event via fax to 843-706-3070 or e-mail to

Counting homeless people was heartbreaking for some volunteers during the Everyone Counts event Jan. 29 sponsored by area ecumenical and nonprofit groups.

Countywide, 214 people who considered themselves homeless completed surveys. More than 110 were staying with a friend while 95 were considered homeless, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's standards. To be considered homeless, people need to be living in the woods, in an abandoned building, in a substandard structure or other shelter such as Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse, Room at the Inn, Family Promise or TLC Ministries.

Volunteers said the questions asked by the homeless at the count were the most difficult.

"How gut-wrenching it was when they came up and said 'Can you tell me where I can sign up for housing?'" said Fred Leyda, director of the Alliance for Human Services. "And then realizing there was no way the people had any way to secure anything we gave them with their arms full of sleeping bags, coats, food, thelizing, 'Where do I go?'"

No specifically designated shelters are available for homeless people in Beaufort County. Vicky Hunnings, chairwoman of the Homeless Task Force on Hilton Head Island, hopes to change that.

"People on Hilton Head do not realize there is a need here, but there is a definite need in the area," Hunnings said. "It breaks my heart when it is cold and rainy and I have a warm bed to sleep in and many people don't."

Homeless people were interviewed at a soup kitchen at Bluffton Self Help as part of the count.

"We actually don't know where our homeless reside, in the woods or wherever," said Nancy Meyer, volunteer coordinator at Bluffton Self Help. "We learned it is a very difficult thing to really know who is and who is not homeless."

Organizers of Everyone Counts will meet to discuss how to stop the revolving door of homelessness.

"The Community Services Organization wants to talk about how this could be handled differently," Leyda said. "We learned a lot of good lessons from this pm."


The Christian Women of Providence Presbyterian Church will hold a retreat for all women from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday in the church fellowship hall. The retreat, "Becoming A Vessel God Can Use," will be facilitated by Andra Ostergard. Cost is $10; lunch included. Reservations required. The church is at 171 Cordillo Parkway, Hilton Head Island.

Details: Joan Perry, 843-671-3793


District Three of the Old Ashley Baptist Association meets at 9 a.m. today at Central Baptist Church, Beaufort, where the Rev. Levon Byrd is the host pastor. The church is at 1111 Prince St., Beaufort.

Details: the Rev. Joseph McKnight, 843-252-7855; the Rev. Joe Simmons, 843-812-6927


Nu Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will observe its 103rd Founders' Day at 4 p.m. Sunday at Faith Memorial Baptist Church, 28 Lands End Road, St. Helena Island. Carolyn Bell of Savannah will speak.

Details: 843-726-8860


The Rev. Nan White will discuss "Spiritual and Ordinary Moments: Is there a difference?" at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort. The fellowship meets at 10 a.m. at 178 Sams Point Road, Lady's Island.

Details: 843-838-1399


Orange Grove Baptist Church of St. Helena Island will conclude the celebration of its 93rd church anniversary at 1 p.m. Sunday. The guest church and pastor are Brick Baptist Church and the Rev. Abraham Murray. The church is at 189 Orange Grove Road, St. Helena.

Details: Doretha Bennett or Mary Mack, 843-838-4128


"The Journey of the Jews: A Cultural Study" continues from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday at Congregation Beth Yam. The topic for this third session is "Hellenistic Judaism." Rabbi Brad Bloom leads the discussion series that continues through May. One session each month will be held at the Bluffton library. The Lunch and Learn group will continue after Wednesday's class March 9. That session will also be held at the synagogue and the topic will be "Jewish Culture in Greco-Roman Palestine." Participants are invited to bring their lunch. The synagogue is at 4501 Meeting St., Hilton Head Island.

Details: 843-689-2178


Second Jordan Baptist Church's Celebrate Family and Friends nights will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. Guests are: Wednesday, the Brown family and friends with speaker Pastor Susan Johnson and Canaan Baptist Church; Thursday, the Fell family and friends with speaker Pastor Edward Cushingberry and New Hope Christian Church Disciples of Christ; and Friday, the Pusha/Mims family night with speaker Pastor Freddie Lawton Sr. and Antioch Christian Church Disciples of Christ. The church is on County Shed Road, Burton.

Details: Julia Powell, 843-846-0161


First Presbyterian Church on Hilton Head Island will hold a Lenten study, "Sinning Like a Christian: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins" by author Will Willimon, on March 13-April 17. Sign up Sunday or during the week in the church office for a Lenten small group. Books are $10 and available in the church office. The church is at 540 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head.

Details: 843-681-3696,,


Oaks True Holiness Church will host a Youth Seminar from 1-3 p.m. Feb. 26. Joan Linyard, a Beaufort County educator, will be the presenter. The church is at 548 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena Island.

Details and to register: Sarah Rivers, 843-525-1971


Second Mount Carmel Baptist Church of Burton will hold its Black History program at 2 p.m. Feb. 26 at Pine Grove Baptist Church, 73 Pine Grove Road, Burton.

Details: 843-846-9404


Lighthouse Christian Center's Black History Celebration will feature "Try'umsee's Wings," a Gullah Folktale written by Patricia Ann Bee, at 4 p.m. Feb. 27. The church is at 3538 Trask Parkway, Beaufort (across from Stokes-Brown Toyota).

Details: 843-525-6910


A new TLC Thrift Store is being readied for a March 15 opening in Beaufort Plaza Shopping Center (next to Beall's Outlet), Robert Smalls Parkway, Beaufort. Financial partners are needed for the ministry. Training for volunteers begins Friday. The income from the thrift store will be used to offset the $17,000 in monthly expenses needed for the men's center and for the women's center which will be open soon.

Details: 843-476-9767,


Beth Moore will deliver a DVD-based lecture series based on the book of Revelation from 6-7:45 p.m. on Tuesdays through April 12 at Resurrection Christian Church. The church is at 296 Spanish Wells Road, Hilton Head Island.

Details: 843-689-3625,


The Rev. Joe Simmons, associate minister of the Faith Memorial Baptist Church, will speak from noon-12:45 p.m. Wednesday at the Lunch Hour of Power in Helen Galloway's Memorial Chapel of Chisholm Galloway Home for Funerals, 808 Bladen St., Beaufort.

Details: 843-524-6634


Mah-jongg and bridge are from 1-4 p.m. every Monday in the Walsh Palmetto Room at St. Peter Catholic Church, 70 Lady's Island Drive, Beaufort. New players are welcome. Participants are asked to pay $3 and contribute two cans of food. Instruction is available and refreshments are served. All proceeds go to St. Vincent de Paul Outreach, a ministry of St. Peter Catholic Church, which provides grocery staples, meat, fresh produce and bread to more than 900 local families each month in Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton and Colleton counties.

Details: 843-525-6079


Because of special invitations to other churches, morning worship at Faith Memorial Baptist Church will start at 10 a.m. Feb. 27 and March 6.

Details: 843-838-2362, 843-525-6799


The Men's Fellowship at Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church on Hilton Head Island will host its annual Men's Day program at 4 p.m. Feb. 27. The theme for the program is "Men of Great Faith Walking in the Light Together." The Rev. Alandus Sims, associate pastor of the Fellowship Baptist Church of Pine Hills in Orlando, Fla., will speak. The program is open to the public. The Rev. Ben Williams is pastor. The church is at 382 Squire Pope Road, Hilton Head.

Details: 843-681-3678

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