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Church Spotlight: Providing hope through faith and service

Leslie Smith has been a member of Church Street Methodist since the 1980s.

“Just because I was a Methodist I was drawn to it that way. I’m from Demopolis and I grew up in the Methodist Church there,” she said.

Smith made the move to Selma to be an educator. She has held jobs in both the Selma City and Dallas County school systems.

“I taught every elementary grade but kindergarten,” she said. “Just first through sixth-grade.”

Smith is involved in numerous parts of the Methodist church.

“For the past two or three years I have been working with Communities of Transformation,” she said. “We meet once a week at Church Street and we try to break the cycle of poverty. We try to help people move out to be financially independent. We have people that are invited to join us and we mentor them, work together, and we believe that all people are broken, so we join together in our brokenness and form that community and relationships with people that we normally wouldn’t be around.

“I think it is a wonderful thing for our community,” she said. “To form relationships across different socioeconomic groups is a good thing.”

The group does not provide any financial assistance, said Smith.

“We just meet and have a meal together,” she said. “We have training to prepare people for jobs, and then we have formed small support groups, and the person that is trying to become financially independent becomes the leaders of those groups, and they tell us what they need.”

Smith also works with the Good News Club.

“I worked last year with Elkdale Baptist Church,” she said. “I enjoyed working with that, and a group of us from Church Street are starting a Good News Club this year, and we will be working with Clark School.”

Smith believes that outreach is important.

“That is what separates a church from being a social club,” said Smith. “We need to reach out and provide healing, comfort and to witness to provide hope for others in our community. People that don’t know Jesus don’t have hope. That is the only hope for others, and we need to let them know that hope is there.”