Spiritual Clean-up on Aisle Five
The Good News Gazette is reporting on a Washington Post story about Rev. Anita Naves, who has taken up shop . . . well . . . inside a shop.
After her ordination, Rev. Naves searched for a proper venue to start up a church. For two years, nothing materialized around her home in Temple Hill, MD, in the Washington, D.C., area.
But as they say, when God closes a door, he opens a produce section.
That's when Naves says she felt God's urging to check out the community room at a new Giant Food store in District Heights, MD. She arranged a meeting with an assistant manager.
Says Naves: "He just had this look on his face like, 'What do I do? Am I going to be the one who puts out the fire on God? Who wants to be guilty of that?'"
Of his community room, Manager Mike Balenger says: "All I can say is, we don't have a problem with whatever goes on in there. We've had birthdays, baby showers, chess clubs there. As long as it's helping people and the community, it's a good thing."
Rev. Naves' message is not contained by the community room, however. With a small PA system, she reaches out to shoppers from the transitional area between the community room and the rest of the store.
Including the laying on of hands, anointing with oil and speaking in tongues, Rev. Naves' message is unapologetic and charismatic. It is also a call for wholeness in troubled times.
"You got so many losing their jobs, losing their houses. It's not about money, it's about having the power to overcome and be successful. Everything Jesus did was about making people whole so they could go forth, multiply and prosper," she said.
As expected, reactions from shoppers has been mixed.
"When she started praying for my marriage just out of the blue, it got to me," said choked up newlywed Harriet Dade. "That someone would stop and take the time to do that for me . . . she doesn't even know me."
But Shaeen Stevenson, while waiting for a friend to get anointed, says Rev. Naves' presence at the grocery "feels a little invasive."
Rev. Naves', whose life has seen promise and pain, says sincerity is the key.
"They weren't just coming in, they were coming with their fears and a sincere heart. As long as you're reaching people like that, it doesn't matter where you are. God's will is being done," she said.
Photo credit: Washington Post