By Chris Johnson
Director of communications
It’s no secret around here, or pretty much anywhere on planet Earth, that I’m a huge Jimmy Buffett fan. I like his music. I like the tropical imagery. I like the nonconformity … if you can consider 20,000 fairly normal folks who dress exactly alike in flowery shirts and strange hats to be nonconformists.
But I like almost all types of music, so long as it’s good music. I can get my jazz groove on with some Ronny Jordan on guitar, chill with some Norah Jones, rock out with Drivin’ ‘n’ Cryin’, go country with Waylon Jennings, get the blues with Precious Bryant (who hails from Talbotton, Ga., just like Koinonia Farm founder and Millard Fuller mentor Clarence Jordan … click here to listen) or go old school with the Beatles. And if it’s gospel, make it Virgina Kimble.
What? You don’t know Virginia. Well, I admit that I didn’t either until a little more than a week ago.
During the kickoff dinner for the Millard Fuller Legacy Build in McDonough, Ga., on Sunday, Sept. 9, she casually and quietly came to the piano and microphone at the far end of the room at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church and apologized in advance for what she expected to be an unacceptable rendition of “Higher Ground.”
And despite having a case of laryngitis, she proceeded to blow the room away. I quickly grabbed my camera and captured as much of it as possible. And if you check out the overview video below, her version of “Higher Ground” is what you hear about the 1:55 mark. It’s worth a listen. If that’s laryngitis, I guess I have no excuse for my singing voice, which sounds kinda like a ferret being run over by a garbage truck. And I don’t have laryngitis.
Of course, Ms. Kimble is the music director at Wesley Chapel, which was a tremendous supporter during the Build. They not only provided space for every dinner, including the opening and closing dinners, but they allowed us to use their facilities and technology to help relay news and photos from the event.
And, oh yeah, they were very, very nice.
We made some other great church friends in Henry County, including:
McDonough Presbyterian Church: Provided lodging for volunteers.
Harvest Point United Methodist Church: They had about 15 members volunteer, including pastor Dr. Steven Usry. When we needed a golf cart, a church member who owns a golf cart business gave us one to use for the entire week. And, Harvest Point had “Muffin Sunday” on Sept. 9 and provided muffins for the volunteer lodgers.
Greater New Hope Christian Assembly: Donated money to buy breakfast for volunteer lodgers.
Shiloh Baptist Church: Hosted dinner Thursday night for volunteers.
Avalon Church: Provided an assortment of snacks and drinks for the entire week of the build.
Wesley Way United Methodist Church: Hosted Friday’s lunch of sandwiches, drinks, chips and cookies.
The Fuller Center for Housing is not a church, but we are a servant to the church. And during the Legacy Build, we were served by churches. The church is a key partner in our work, and the more churches get involved, the more we can do.
So, please, encourage your church to financially support us. Or build with us. Or bring our volunteers cookies. Or, if nothing else, treat us to a song we’ll never forget.
Thank you to all our church supporters who put their faith into action with us!
This is the overview video for the 2012 Millard Fuller Legacy Build: