Three Memphis churches are coming together in more ways than one. The church leaders met years ago, and tried to collaborate on a project in 2018 but it didn’t happen. Recently it was a book club that brought their new project to light, bringing church members along for the ride

“I lost a lot. I lost my job at the time, I lost the place I was staying and I became homeless. I just became that person that I thought I wasn’t going to be.” Rodrickcus Jones told us.

Rodrickus watched his single mother work three jobs. Little did he know, his determination, would be the answer to his struggles.

“Watching her work those three jobs, I always wanted to buy her a house one day and do these things. I had all of these dreams and aspirations but sometimes, you know, God’s plan for us.. It’s not all planned”

He was homeless, with no car and nowhere to turn but to his faith.

“God teaches us to carry our own cross. He died on a cross for our sins so I picked up my own cross and walked you know? And now we’re here,” Rodrickcus said with a laugh.

His laughs mean much more once you know where Rodrickcus started. Then you begin to appreciate how far he’s come.

“He caught an Uber to church, he caught buses to church, he got rides from individuals to church but the interesting thing is– that he had never been late to worship rehearsal, to life group, to everything that we did he was never late he was there and no one knew that he was homeless,” Pastor Thomas told us.

Marron Thomas is the pastor of Innovation Church.

No one including Pastor Thomas knew Rodrickcus was homeless. After they found out, it made giving moments like what they’re doing now, so much sweeter.

Innovation Church partnered with St. Paul Baptist Church and Independent Presbyterian Church that put a roof over Rodrickcus’ head, by renovating this home.

The project is called “The Bridge,” a way to help church members transition from renting a home to owning one.

“It’s important that we have a generation that understands the value in home ownership,” Antwoine Clark said, a member of Innovation Church.

Rodrickcus will live in this “Bridge” home for a year.

The Bridge project started as a book club with the three church leaders and members, predominantly white and black congregations, coming together.

“Although we all know each other and have a great relationship, it doesn’t help if our congregations don’t know one another. And so, that kind of gave birth to this idea of ‘why don’t we all read a book together?’ break it up into various groups, making sure we’re diversified not only in terms of our congregation but also in terms of race so that we can have some conversations around these books and it just sort of grew from there,” Dr. Christopher B. Davis from St. Paul Baptist Church said.

“We began to realize we are brothers and sisters in Christ and that was, just, awesome. The idea that we are family, and we are united in Christ, in more so than we are divided from each other,” Cannon Allen said, a member of Independent Presbyterian Church.

The books they read focused on racial justice, the body of Christ, and caring for those in need, stressing the importance of home ownership through community development.

So many faithful church members like Rodrickcus have powerful stories,

“To solely depend on Him, not nobody else, that’s all I had to do, and I didn’t have nothing else to fall back on,” Rodrickcus said.

Which is why he will be one of many tenants here.

While living in this Frayser home, the tenants pay a small rental fee and participate in programming to learn, save, and prepare to buy their first home.

“The beauty of this have been the friendships that have developed out of it and to see our common desire, to work together to build the kingdom, that’s what I’m hoping that will continue,” Cannon Allen said.

The churches are hoping this project will be done by next month. They would like to renovate another Bridge project home in Whitehaven, to continue their work, together.

If you know someone or something you would like me to feature on bright spot, send Symone an email or message on social media.

If you would like to donate time, items, resources, supplies or make a financial contribution, you can visit the Generous Justice Book Club or The Bridge websites for more information.