New Life Christian Center has experienced its share of new beginnings recently.
The church name has changed. It’s now New Life Church. Work has begun on a temporary meeting location since Walmart purchased the church’s property off Wrightsboro Road to build a new 152,000-square-foot supercenter in Augusta.
One of the church’s longtime ministries – Helping People Start Over – has also relocated and has a new name, too.
New Beginnings Ministry, the former HPSO, now operates out of Augusta Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter on Watkins Street in Augusta.
The two ministries launched their new partnership with a joint Valentine’s Day outreach last week.
“There’s a new beginning for everything. It’s a new beginning for us, so we decided to call the ministry New Beginnings,” said Sheila Harris, the head of New Beginnings.
The ministry opens to the public March 2, when New Beginnings volunteers will distribute groceries and clothing to the homeless and others in need.
From its previous location on Gordon Highway, the former HPSO also offered GED classes, résumé help, job skills training and a program for single mothers.
Bit by bit, those services will be added to the downtown location, Harris said.
“It’s a great partnership. We’re excited to have them here,” said Rusty Marsh, the executive director of Augusta Rescue Mission.
He is also an elder at New Life Church, founded and led by pastor Bryan Matthews and his wife, Rhonda.
“The goals and missions of New Beginnings and the Augusta Rescue Mission just fit together,” Marsh said.
New Beginnings describes itself as a Christ-based nonprofit organization whose goal is “to ease the burden on government and our economy by assisting those in need and helping them to gain the skills needed to create a better life for themselves and their families.”
“Years ago, we knew we wanted to touch people in the community,” Rhonda Matthews said. “My husband’s favorite saying is, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,’ and it’s true.”