South campus: Entertainment with a purpose

Saturday, February 25, 2006

When the leaders of New McKendree United Methodist Church first conceived the idea of a second facility, they realized it needed to be more than just a place of worship -- they wanted it to be a place of community as well.

Now that the new south campus has opened on Hope Street in Jackson, the congregation is following through on its vision with a series of concerts designed to bring the community together and help raise funds for a good cause as well.

"One of the major purposes of the new facility is to open it up as a venue for the community to participate in as well, not just New McKendree United Methodist Church," said Jeremy Verhines, worship arts director at the south campus. "We don't like to stay closed in; we like to reach out to the community."

Part of that outreach begins Sunday, with the first of several planned benefit concerts to help local charities. This initial concert targets the Safehouse for Women in Cape Girardeau, an organization that helps abused women and their children.

Verhines, who is also a musician with an album under his belt, will be featured at Sunday's event. His music -- which tends toward acoustic/indie sounds --focuses on personal devotion, he said.

Verhines plans to play several of own original songs as well as a few favorite cover songs.

"The lyrics all express restoration, simplicity, rejuvenation, reconcilliation," said Verhines. "All things the women at the Safehouse may be dealing with. This message is for them."

Verhines says his music appeals to a variety of age groups.

He hopes to attract other local musicians for future concerts.

"The whole idea is to have everyone in the community pitch in. We're just providing the outlet," said Verhines.

The event will be cafe-style, with tables and chairs set up throughout the sanctuary and candlelights. There will also be fog misters that offer a type of aroma therapy. There will be coffee and snacks, as well as free child care.

Admission is free, though there will be an offering taken at the end of the concert, with all funds going to the Safehouse. The concerts will continue on a monthly basis.

335-6611, extension 128

Want to go?

What: Benefit concert for the Safehouse for Women of Cape Girardeau

When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: New McKendree United Methodist Church, South Campus at 1770 S. Hope St. in Jackson

Admission: Free

For more information: Call 243-4011

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