Wright hopes to unite area ministers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 9, 2001

Sunday, September 09, 2001

The Natchez Democrat

Ministers – like their flocks – have needs. Many have found

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an alliance with other spiritual leaders can be helpful. It could

be more.

The Rev. Doug Wright is on a mission to convince more of the

area’s clergy that they can strengthen and inspire one another

and, in so doing, perhaps be a new positive force in the community.

&uot;It’s vital to have support from people who understand

what we do, people who have some of the same problems and challenges,&uot;

said Wright, the well-spoken and energetic pastor of First Assembly

of God and president of the Natchez Ministerial Alliance.

&uot;I see the alliance as a place for Christian ministers

to come together to support and encourage one another as well

as to have a presence in the community.&uot;

Wright is not new to the leadership role, having served as

alliance president in the mid 1990s.

&uot;This year they asked me to consider coming back in as

president. It needed some reviving. It has gone through kind of

a slump.&uot;

Wright has some of the same goals for the alliance that he

had five to six years ago. &uot;My heart was to see the ministerial

alliance with a good racial mix and a variety of denominations,&uot;

he said.

The first business meeting of the year will be Tuesday at 10

a.m. at Christian Hope Baptist Church with the Rev. John Scott

as host.

&uot;We’re going to make personal invitations to try to get

a good group out for that,&uot; Wright said.

Further, the alliance will have Dolphus Weary as a special

guest at the meeting.

&uot;He’s the executive director of Mission Mississippi, and

he’s coming to try to help us come together as a group.&uot;

Mission Mississippi, a Jackson-based nonprofit incorporated

in 1993, was organized to bring together Christians of all races

and denominations.

Wright said there have been disappointments in how the alliance

functions during times of community crisis.

&uot;We do not always agree on how to respond to a situation.

That can be very difficult,&uot; he said.

Still, he will begin the year with a surge of optimism, hoping

that more ministers will attend the meetings and take part in

the few annual events the alliance sponsors.

Two highlights of the Ministerial Alliance year are the community

Thanksgiving service and the National Day of Prayer service.

&uot;We had wonderful participation this last time. I was

thrilled,&uot; Wright said.

Ministers of the Christian faith have much in common despite

differences of denominations, he said.

&uot;We all come together in our savior Christ. I’d like to

see the alliance get stronger, and we’re hopeful that will happen

this year. I hope we will have a big participation in September.&uot;

Making a difference in the community will continue to be a

goal of the alliance, Wright said, even though new and old issues

that arise to divide the community also may continue to divide

the ministers, he said.

&uot;Personal relationships among the ministers can make a

difference. We can encourage each other. And we can become more

integrated in a good way.&uot;

Wright’s hopes cannot be too different from those of other

Natchez ministers. Separately, each is a spiritual force for his

or her flock. Together, imagine what they might accomplish.

Joan Gandy is special projects director of The Democrat. She

can be reached by calling (601) 445-3549 or by e-mail to joan.gandy@natchezdemocrat.com.