SUSSEX — Desiree Woody, assistant pastor of the First Baptist Church said, "everyone needs."
Some people are thrown out of housing. Others need food and are fed daily by the Harvest House, a ministry in the First Baptist Church which Vernon Township High School students began in 1988.
The First Baptist Church of Sussex willingly shares its building resources with four outside ministries which meet in the church.
Recently a woman told Woody her feet were cold because she didn't have any socks. Woody gave her four pairs. Another woman who was experiencing knee pain needed a gallon of milk, so Woody drove her to the local QuickChek.
"That's how it is,' she said. "You would see so much need.
To meet the community’s needs, Refuge House has a line dedicated to prayer and prayer requests. Some shut-ins regularly call to pray on the conference call.
Woody officially became assistant pastor of the First Baptist Church on Nov. 17. Pastor Wade Abbott brought her onto the staff as the pastor of prayer to run the Refugure House prayer meetings during the week.
She has been a full-time minister since 1995.
“For four years I’ve had a dream and even started Houses of Prayer in other churches," Woody said. "Pastor Wade had a vision for a house of prayer where people could pray all of the time.”
This is how she is starting right now are starting right now, saying they are there to serve and pray for the community.
"People come in tears so we drop everything to pray," Woody said.
She means it. While speaking, a knock sounds at the door. She drops everything to help direct a lady with a food donation to the Harvest House.
"If you are going through some kind of crisis, we can pray for you if you leave a text or message," Woody said. "Also, you can contact us if you need personal prayer counseling."
Apart from the prayer room is the church and the Harvest House ministry where the smell of cinnamon lingers.
"The ladies cook great food," Wood said. "They know how to cook."
The First Baptist Church’s white bell tower looks to the past, organized in 1756. The First Baptist Church of Sussex across the street from the Sussex Borough town hall.
Off to the side, a white door of a small room waits, where the stone banister and stairs lead to a handwritten sign: Refuge House of Prayer.
Inside, six people greet those who enter. Another woman later strums the guitar as the group sings, “Rescue the Perishing”.
Love, optimism, and encouragement flood through the room like the warm light flowing through smaller stained glass windows around the six people sitting in a circle praying.
They next sing, “Here I am, Lord”.
One of the six is Woody, eager to serve the citizens of Sussex County.