Victory Church makes move downtown for accessibility to homeless population

 

Helping the homeless, are from left, Lead Pastor Mark Harmon, volunteer, Eric Abernathy, Pastor Aaron Appling and volunteer Samantha Wierney at the Victory Church’s old location west of Dover. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Victory Church has been at the forefront when it comes to advocacy for the homeless population in Dover, whether it be offering its support for tiny homes or speaking out during public forums before city council meetings.

Recently, the church’s leaders decided that if they truly wanted to help the homeless then they needed to be at ground zero of the issue — downtown Dover.

So they decided to sell their church building and property at 2736 Forrest Ave. just outside the west boundaries of the city and have moved to 46 S. Bradford St., where Victory Church will now share a building for Sunday services with Peoples Church of Dover.

Victory Church’s first service at its new location took place last Sunday. Peoples Church meets at 10 a.m. and Victory’s service follows at 11:30 a.m.

Lead Pastor Mark Harmon said the church’s move downtown was a logical one.

“The true mission of our ministry is to help those who don’t have a voice,” Pastor Harmon said. “Evangelism is about meeting the needs of the people. And you can’t meet the need effectively if you’re absent from where they are and what they go through.

“So we decided we would move downtown to be more accessible. And it is God’s doing. Most churches move out of city lines to invest in more land. I believe we should invest in people.”

Aaron Appling, a pastor at Victory Church, has brought a group that has attended and spoken before every Dover City Council meeting since last August.

“We believe our community wants to do something about homelessness, they just need to know that it exists, so we are trying to get it out of the shadows into the light so we can deal with it as a community,” he said.

Victory Church also provides meals for the homeless, two times a day, seven days per week.

Denise Daniel was once homeless herself but is now one of the people at Victory Church offering a hand-up to those who are looking for it.

“(Victory Church) saved my life because I didn’t have any place to go and I’m actually a diabetic,” Ms. Daniel said. “They allowed me to put my insulin in the refrigerator and helped me get back on my feet.

“Now, I actually go out and feed the homeless and I was homeless. I just try to move it forward the best that I can.”

That is all Pastor Harmon is hoping for — not only that his congregation at Victory Church praises and worships God, but that they are also compassionate and take care of those less fortunate in the community.

The city of Dover estimates there are 300 to 400 homeless people who reside in the greater Dover area.

“We’re raising awareness about homelessness and about a lot of issues that are going on in our own city, not just homelessness, but people who have homes and they don’t have enough food to eat or whatever the case may be,” Pastor Harmon said. “We’re just trying to raise awareness about the fact that there’s a lot of people struggling and a lot of people hurting and we’re just trying to offer some hope.”

Victory Church is now right at the epicenter of Dover’s homeless plight — right where it believes it should be.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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