Bridge Builders visit historic landmarks
Published 6:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2022
Over 300 community leaders, volunteers, visitors and pastors affiliated with Church of God International traveled from all parts of the country to Selma to participate in the church’s Historic Montgomery to Selma Bridge Builders experience Thursday.
Bishop Kelvin Cobaris, President of Bridge Builders, said the organization brought two groups, one that toured the Legacy Museum in Montgomery and one group of volunteers that assisted in handing out food donations to the community at Bloch Park.
The two groups linked up with Selma community members for a ceremony at the Edmund Pettus Bridge that concluded with marching across the bridge.
“(The) ceremony speaks more of uniting cultures and races for equity and equality,” Cobaris said.
“Bridge Builders is all about uniting cultures for the advancement of the kingdom of God, so we’re coming to Selma to do just that – to promote the message of unity and to propose that this same message and gesture should be used all over our country and world to bring us together and not further divide us. That’s what today is about.”
Cobaris said the community service component was equally as important as the ceremony itself.
“We didn’t want to just come to Selma for optics at a bridge,” Cobaris said. “We’re about ministry. We’re about community, so we partnered with Pastor (John E.) Grayson, the food bank and the leaders here so that we could also join together and be of service to the Selma community … just to show again, that message of love and to leave that imprint of compassion within this community.”
Cobaris added part of the donations came from the Church of God’s “Operation Compassion” initiative, based out of their food bank in Cleveland, Tenn. The initiative serves a variety of communities in crisis, including those affected by the war in the Ukraine.
“A part of our initiative and project was to bring our ministry down to lead and make an impact in Selma,” Cobaris said.
Pastor Grayson said Son Light Center Food Ministry, Feed America, Montgomery-area food banks and local grocery stores were among those to donate to the cause.
Grayson said it was a blessing to have Bridge Builders come in to volunteer to help the community.
“Selma is in an area right now where we really need the help and encouragement,” Grayson said.
“Just to know that somebody from out of town cares enough to come and share is a powerful statement to make … People are hurting.
“We’ve gone through almost three years of COVID, gas prices are high, groceries are high and you can’t get food or supplies in. We’re in a food desert.”
Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. spoke at the afternoon ceremony at the intersection of Broad St. and Water Ave.
“As I was mingling through the crowd, I realized that we’re from several different states, but we’re all serving the same God,” he said. “I welcome the Bridge Builders to Selma.”
Perkins presented Cobaris with a key to the city for his contributions to the community.
“I wanted to present this to you, not because of who you are, but because of the work that you do,” Perkins said. “We really appreciate any and all who work toward improving the quality of life and bringing together together in this nation.”