Dec. 3—Pastor Glenn Jenkinson doesn't have any particular lofty ambitions as leader of The Pavilion — just to live out the word of God, help those in need and bring hope to the hopeless.
"There's a lot people without hope in the world right now," Jenkinson said.
At the Pentecostal church's new location on a highly trafficked stretch of U.S. 341, he said the church sees a lot of that hopelessness. He literally leaves the door open for anyone who needs food, drink or a place to sleep, and many have taken him up on the offer. A handful of people walked in off the street through the course of the week and The Pavilion fed them. A homeless man slept in the church one night the week before.
"The Bible says these things are going to happen, we're not surprised by it," says Jenkinson. "Famine, pestilence, earthquakes; there was a tornado just the other day. All these things are going to take place. We can't change it. But we try to help."
Jenkinson is very comfortable preaching the word, as he grew up in a very religious household in Jamaica, the son of a pastor. Later in life, he joined the U.S. Navy. Once in the armed forces, he did as the Romans did — partied, drank and generally enjoyed himself. But he also had never been so far from the Gospel.
"One day, I thought 'There's something more than this,'" Jenkinson said.
And he found that something more in a branch of the Church of the Living God International, CLGI, just outside his naval base.
CLGI, was originally founded in 1903, but in 1985 Bishop Joseph White, the current leader of the organization, began a campaign to minister to military servicemen and women, Jenkinson said. It was this campaign that led to the church near his base opening and, by extension, his reconnection with his faith.
By the organization's own admission on its website, the military has been a major vector for CLGI's success and active military personnel and veterans make up a substantial portion of the church's total membership. That's true locally as well, Jenkinson said.
A 20-year veteran of the Navy himself, he's far from the only veteran at The Pavilion. It was a veteran, who has since passed away, who founded the local church in 2013 as a CLGI-affiliated church.
One of the reasons he was attracted to CLGI is because it's a truly international church in a way few can lay claim to, mostly due to its strong affiliation with the military. The church has ministries across the U.S. and in South America, Great Britain, Germany, Amsterdam and Africa. Many outside the U.S. coincide with military bases, he said.
"We're really multinational," Jenkinson said of The Pavilion. "We're a melting pot of every race, we embrace all cultures. There are Christians of every stripe, so we're just trying to replicate what heaven will look like."
The Pavilion will celebrate its new location on Dec. 11 with a dedication ceremony featuring scriptural readings, liturgy, prayer, praise and worship songs, and a sermon from Bishop White.
The move is very recent, with the renovations concluding late last month. Church members, either by volunteering their labor or contributing financially, did most of the work. This dedication will also serve as a way to honor their contributions, he said.
The event will begin at 11 a.m. on Dec. 11 at the church, located at 4501 New Jesup Highway in Brunswick.