Helping those who are in Need
SOUTH POINT — It was a calling from God that Bishop T. Andrew Aiken heard long before he answered it. But 11 years ago he did just that and now he is the founder and pastor of a South Point church whose mission is to reach out to those society often casts aside.
It was 1996 when Aiken and his family moved to Lawrence County from Eden, N.C. For the three months prior to the move he and his family were homeless. Then at the suggestion of his wife’s sister they moved to South Point.
Two years later Aiken founded the Labour of Love Deliverance Ministries that first met at the South Point Community Center.
“I always felt a special calling even before we knew this was the place where God wanted us to have a church,” Aiken said.
However, the early days of Labour of Love were far from prosperous with the Sunday morning congregation many times made up of simply Aiken, his wife, their three children and his mother-in-law. But while small in numbers, the church was big of heart, going out into the community to invite those without a church home to come to theirs.
“When we moved here, we didn’t know anybody,” Aiken recalled. “But gradually people would come. We’ve had people move here from Virginia to be a part of the ministry.”
Now the ministry has grown to where a new building for the church was required. And a week ago, the congregation moved to its new location at 7321 County Road 1 in Burlington in the former Gethsemane Church of the Nazarene that recently housed a local business. With a new building has come a new name as the church is now called the Greater Love Temple. Sunday morning worship is at 11 a.m. with a mid-week service at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Between 50-to-70 congregants come each week to the multi-racial church that aligns itself with the Pentecostal movement while adopting some of the traditional trappings of the mainstream church such as the wearing of robes, cassocks and miters.
It is a ministry that wants to reach out to those Aiken calls “the unchurched,” especially those just getting out of prison and fighting addiction.
“One of the things our church is focusing on is people who have been in the jail system and are being restored to the community,” Aiken said. “A lot of people addicted to drugs … they are getting help and trying to get their life back on track.”
And Aiken says he’s seen some success stories.
“A lot of times people with jail records, it is hard to get a job. After coming to the ministry, they have found jobs and found stable housing,” he said.
Aiken balances pastoring his church with going to classes as he studies to become a social worker. Yet it’s work that he finds to be its own reward.
“It is challenging and satisfying,” he said. “I really enjoy what I am doing. I consider myself a servant leader. I lead them and serve them at the same time.”