Alabama Rural Ministry stops in Selma to help

Published 12:24 am Saturday, June 13, 2009

For someone who’s walked 95 miles from Tuskegee to Selma, a blister on the right foot might seem like a badge of honor.

Lisa Pierce, the founder and director of Alabama Rural Ministry, was more concerned Friday about her group’s next steps as about 45 people — mostly teens — spend a work day today at a local resident’s home.

Pierce is in the middle of an 11-day trek to Livingston for the Alabama Rural Ministry, which functions as a mission camp by hosting work teams from various states across the nation and within the state. The trip is expected to end June 19.

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Today’s work involves clearing the overgrown trees and brush and making general repairs around a Church Street home. The owner is in a nursing home.

“This is the 11th year for Alabama Rural Ministry, so the journey is 11 days,” Pierce said as the group assembled on the Selma City Hall steps. “For the most part, two or three people have been walking along the route.”

Kristina Scott, executive director of the Alabama Poverty Project in Birmingham, spoke to the group about Selma’s history.

“The purpose of our group is to educate about the causes of poverty,” she said. “This group is a godsend. It is good to meet the volunteers so they can have a real understanding of the history and reason for poverty.”

Scott said the group helps with her organization’s goals.

“The two things we hope they can attempt are to make the systems change and meet the immediate needs,” she said. “By working in these neighborhoods, they can understand why the work is needed.”

A large part of the work crew is composed of members of the Dothan United Methodist Church. Although the group is not tied to a particular religion, Methodist churches in Selma have volunteered to help the group.

“It was easier to network that way,” Pierce said.

Alabama Rural Ministry is headquartered in Auburn and has camps in Tuskegee and Livingston.