Whether it’s through feeding the homeless or counseling community members, Pastor David Fitzgerald stands out in the Germantown region.
In an area facing a plethora of societal issues, namely poverty, the pastor actively seeks to make change day and night. He and his wife, Jocelyn, co-founded Compelling People to Christ two years ago.
It is only the beginning of the pastor’s larger plan to better the community.
What is Compelling People to Christ?
We are a non-profit, non-denominational Christian church. Our big vision is about creating the church to be the light or the cornerstone of the community.
What inspired you and your wife to open a church in Germantown?
We felt that it was our calling from God to serve this community. We wanted to open a Church in a tough urban area because we have a passion for helping people. Our biggest inspiration is really helping people and being a light in the community.
What services does CPC provide to the Germantown community?
We give out a lot of free resources, such as clothing, food and sometimes even money.
We’ve had a feeding program here for a while. A lot of people come in asking for food. On Sunday mornings, we feed about 25 to 30 people from the community.
We started partnering with the community to try to keep some of the surrounding areas clean. More importantly, we want it to be an “escape,” a safe haven both spiritually and physically and to empower the people mentally as well. So, they can have a really calm atmosphere here and be rejuvenated.
We have a passion for people to come to a place and kind of, in a sense, escape all the events happening in their life. We try to empower them mentally. In fact, our name is changing to the Hope Church soon because the vision for this church is hope and helping other people excel.
What are some problems the Germantown community faces?
The atmosphere in the neighborhood creates a plethora of different issues that people have to go through. I think the biggest problem in this community is poverty.
We try to help as much as we can but being a non-profit entity, we don’t have a lot of money. We are limited in resources. However, people need to come to a place where they are empowered mentally to deal with the things they’re dealing with in their areas. We see a lot of people who have single mothers, a lot of people come here for direction.
Once, a terrified looking young man came here, straight out of a bad gun fight and was really scared for his life. He came here and was looking for guidance.
We’re here to help these people build their everyday life.
What’s the favorite part of what you do?
I think that’s a tricky question because I like to do everything here. But if I had to narrow it down, it really is being able to help people strategize through their tough times.
I think they’re very analytical and that makes everything more spiritual and compassionate. That every time people come in with a problem, I get joy in trying to help people find solutions because reality is, in this neighborhood we can’t wave a magic wand and everyone will be better.
It means we really have to do it strategically, think about it and help people with tough times.
– Text and images by Rose Daraz and Nikki Svec.