New Church Launches in St. Pete

Visible Voices

The Rev. Sarah Edwards and her husband Rev. Edgar Edwards have launched a church and a community outreach venue named Visible Voices Christian Community Association on the southeast corner of 22nd Street South and Ninth Avenue.

The Crossing Point Christian Culture Empowerment Center has been in operation about six months. Their location is in a historical landmark previously known as Jessie Henderson’s Ice Cream and Soda Fountain, which was a safe place for teens.

Henderson, along with a few other men, started the first black-owned taxi company for blacks when white cab drivers would not serve this community. For the past several years, the building had served as a mosque.

Being in ministry more than 38 years, Rev. Edwards said she clearly understands her call to this city “because some people operate from the advantage point of privilege while others function from genius.” She relayed how God spoke to her heart when she lived in Atlanta to return home.

“We are to empower his people whose voices have been smothered and they themselves have been misused, abused and then revictimized.”

She said her hope is that they understand their significance has been given to them from their creator and that everyone has at least one gift to cause them to prosper and be in good health as their soul prospers.

“We are a Bible-teaching church that colors outside the line without compromising the good news of Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross,” she said.

Sunday worship is at 11 a.m. Community conversations are Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Single adult fellowship (25 years and older) takes place on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. Movies soon will be shown on Saturdays.

“As a coffee house ministry, we minister to a lot of people one-on-one. We call it ‘talk therapy’,” Edwards said.

They also offer a venue for Christian artists to perform. Rashida Stover, an award-winning actress, recently performed and the people loved her five women’s monologue performance entitled, “A Revenge of an Angry Black Woman.” Some expressed how good it was to be able to walk within their community for a cultural experience.

The Center also offers a library and reading room, a book club, a coffee house, ice cream and sodas. Edwards said the Center uses a BEAR formula – B for business development; E for Education; A for Arts; and R for Recreation.

“We are also a venue for people who can come share their talents,” she said.

Members of the community have welcomed this concept of a Bible-teaching church. Their needs are being met by volunteers. They, and a professional painter, donated products, time and talent to repaint the building at 9901 22nd St. S. Edwards and her husband, Gibbs graduates and high school sweethearts, met there over banana splits. They married young and divorced for 17 years. Then God healed their marriage. They have been remarried for 33 years.

“I’ve got nothing but happy memories here,” Edwards said.

For more information about the church, visit its website at www.thecrossingpoint.net or email Edwards at thechurch@thecrossingpoint.net.

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