A new movie Paul’s Promise based on the life of Paul Holderfied Sr. is scheduled to open in theaters on October 21st. The description on the movie’s official website says,
“Set in the peak of the 1960s Civil Rights movement, Paul’s Promise is the inspiring true story of Paul Holderfield, former racist firefighter-turned-pastor who started one of the first integrated churches in the American South.”
Although I had been before, I followed my GPS as I exited the Interstate and navigated the few blocks through an area the police once called one of the worst crime areas in Central Arkansas. After I parked, I was warmly greeted, and from the moment I entered the building. I was reminded of why men love to come. It felt like family.
The 75-80 men from diverse religious, economic, and ethnic backgrounds were united around a common purpose. They were drawn together by the love of Jesus Christ. The breakfast is open to everyone. From a corporate executive to a homeless man who comes off the street, there is genuine acceptance and respect.
It’s a glimpse of the unity Christ desires for his church.
A brief history on Friendly Chapel’s website begins, “Friendly Chapel had its beginning long before it became today’s Friendly Chapel and Friendly Chapel F.L.A.M.E. When Paul Holderfield, Sr. (Bro. Paul, Sr.) became a Christian, he began feeding a group of underprivileged youth at the NLR Boy’s Club, which at that time was the old Fourth Street Jr. High, where he worked part-time. Later the church moved to an abandoned school building, where a mission was started with 16 – 20 children who lived in Eastgate Housing Project . . . . A few years later, Bro. Paul, Sr. felt “a call” to the ministry and left the NLR Fire Department and became pastor of the church he started as a layman. “
After breakfast, I had an opportunity to visit Bro. Paul Jr. who became the church’s pastor after his dad’s unexpected death almost 25 years ago. It was inspiring to hear his heart to be the hands and feet of Jesus and how the church has and is continuing to focus its ministry on serving children and the less fortunate in our community.
In Ephesians 4:16, Paul writes, He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
We are thankful for the special work of Friendly Chapel and for all the churches in our city who are caring for “the least of these” and working for a genuine unity that shows the love of Christ. They’re helping the whole Church grow.