02/10/13 — Pastor, church share pizza, fellowship with children

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Pastor, church share pizza, fellowship with children

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 10, 2013 1:50 AM

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Pastor Craig Spence hands out napkins while children line up to get pizza at the Enrich Your Joy church community reach-out event at the Boys and Girls Club. The "care team" at Enrich Your Joy church organized the event to make a positive impact on the community. Pizza Inn donated 30 pizza pies for the occasion.

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Nathan Williams, 5, enjoys a soda during Saturday's pizza party.

A Raleigh pastor says he saw a need in Wayne County and decided to respond.

Craig Smith of Enrich Your Joy already travels to Goldsboro each Saturday to conduct a miracle and healing service from 2 to 4 p.m. at Herman Park Center. That started about a year and a half ago, he said.

It came about after his Facebook account "exploded" with a following from the Christian community of about 45,000, he said, among them those who wanted him to start a ministry in Goldsboro.

"We made some phone calls and got the space" at Herman Park Center, he says now.

Smith, who formerly had another church ministry in Greenville, is originally from New York and has lived in Raleigh for five years.

He is developing a fondness for Goldsboro, though. After appearing on a local radio show, he said he made a connection with Anthony Teachey, teen director at the Boys & Girls Club on Royall Avenue.

As a black minister, he said he is interested in providing a church presence to the local black community, he said.

"When we heard about all the violence in Goldsboro, throughout the process of seeing that, I prayed about it, I talked with my wife and we prayed about it," he said.

He coordinated an effort with Teachey, bringing volunteers from the church to work with the youths at club.

Friday marked their second time enlisting the support of local restaurants to provide a meal for the youngsters.

"We realized a lot of kids are not getting to eat at home or being fed properly," he explained.

Smith said he hopes that by feeding them physically, what his group has to offer spiritually will be more easily received.

At this point, the efforts come in the form of counseling and tutoring.

"We had a lot of opportunities to talk to kids and ask them what they need," he said. "We have a small team that works with us. We're very organized."

Whether providing help learning computer skills or homework, Smith said the mentoring opportunity is an important one.

"They may want to tap into opening a bank account, a checking account," he said. "We also want to take them to different places, different avenues so they can see life is beyond Goldsboro and life is beyond high school."

Smith, a self-proclaimed "pastor/life coach," said this is just the beginning of his affiliation with the Boys & Girls Club. In addition to aspirations of spending time with the youth, he said he also hopes to involve their parents and build on the program.

"We're trying to get other pastors involved, other organizations involved," he said. "My ultimate goal at this juncture is to do this as much as possible, but I want to be able to do the Boys Club at least once a month."

Through his ministry and volunteer work at the Salvation Army in Raleigh, especially, he said he has been inspired to serve.

"I have seen a lot of techniques on how to help the community," he says. "Then I saw the great need in Goldsboro.

"I really believe there's two kinds of stars -- rock stars and actors, then there are those stars that shine in dark places, in areas that need to be illuminated. That's why we're here. We saw the need was greater than in Raleigh."