by Jessica Carreras
Things are quite cold – literally and figuratively – at the Full Truth Fellowship of Christ Church of Detroit.
The heat is off due to an outstanding bill of over $4,000, and membership is down at the 20-year-old LGBT-affirming church.
“A couple of years ago, (DTE Energy) came in and discovered that one of our meters was not working,” explained head Pastor Rev. Darlene Franklin. “And at that time, they supposedly repaired it.”
The church was hit with a $9,000 bill, which they negotiated down to $2,000.
However, earlier this year, DTE again told the church that their meter was broken, and hit them a second time with a bill of $5,000 in back payments, for a grand total of $7,000 of debt to the electricity company. “We entered into a payment agreement with them – it was $850 a month to keep the gas on, because it was in the winter,” Frankling said.
“They were threatening us to turn it off. We tried paying that as much as we could, but that was just the payment agreement amount, topped with our regular bill. So it’s just too much.”
During the summer, Franklin and Full Truth put out a call to the community asking for financial help, and received some – but not enough. Around $2,000 in donations came in from both local and national funders, and Franklin said they were able to get the debt down to around $4,000. It was really inspiring to see how many folks we had touched throughout the nation,” she said of the outpouring of support.
But the heat is still off, and with temperatures dropping down to freezing levels at times, the church is desperate for help once again.
“We’re taking up extra seed offerings and whatever we get, we put it to the gas bill. Every little bit helps,” she insisted. “We’ve done things in the leadership. I’ve cut my salary back to help.
“But if people know that it’s cold, they just don’t come.”
However, despite the hardship, Franklin maintains that closing the doors to Full Truth is not an option. “I can’t even see into December, this heat not being on. It must be on,” she said. “I know it’s going to work out. It’s got to. Either some soul is going to donate or someone is going to get the powers that be to change their mind. I don’t know what it is, but I know this church will have its heat on real soon. It’s got to be.”
Franklin said she hopes that the LGBT community takes it upon their shoulders to help out however they can – be it through kind words, prayer or monetary donations.
In addition to a weekly service and a school of ministry, Full Truth has been known as an LGBT-welcoming church that has helped the community since its inception. They have donated food and money to the Ruth Ellis Center. They have sung and Rev. Franklin has preached at the Hotter Than July festival. They have taken in person after person who feels that they cannot reconcile their sexuality and their belief in God.
And that, she said, is the biggest reason that the church must stay open. “I tell (the members) to put on extra clothing, because that door must remain open for that soul who does not know that God loves them just the way that they are,” Franklin said. “Whether it be cold, hot, lights on or lights off – that door will remain open.”
To learn more about Full Truth Fellowship of Christ Church, call 313-896-0233 or visit them online at http://fulltruth.webs.com.