I want to write this letter to you, to first, introduce myself to you and then share my heart with you. My name is Glake Hill, and I am the presiding Bishop of the Church of Christ Holiness USA. Our denomination was founded in Jackson 126 years ago. We have been members of Jackson through good and bad. We have been here in the successes and in the struggles. We are excited to be a part of this city. It is our home. It is our birthplace. You are our brothers and sisters. And we are excited about you. We love our city. Our heart breaks as we see its struggle. We are disappointed when circumstances cause pain across the city. We mourn at the bad news, cheer for the good news, and pray for the well-being of our home.
Perhaps the greatest strength of our city is in our diversity. You come from a variety of backgrounds. Your experiences are different and diverse from others reading this article. There is diversity in our ideology and in our politics. There is diversity in our culture, race, and gender. There is diversity in our hobbies, our vocations, and our goals. There’s diversity in our religion, in our mindsets, and in our habits. Jackson, this wonderful city, is the home to this vast diversity.
It is this tapestry of people that makes me so excited and hopeful for the future of our city. It is the beauty of diversity that gives power to what the city faces. It is the collective will of diverse voices determined to live this city aloud that makes Jackson special. That is our Jackson.
But there are those that are determined to limit that collective. There are those that would rather you and I remain silent about our future. There will be those that want you to belittle our city. There are those who want to point out the failures and disappointments of our city so that we may be wrestled into hopelessness. Memes with potholes, articles about water, and jokes about crime are prevalent and each one takes a small piece of our hope. And over time, if left to its own intentions, we will be convinced that there is no hope for our city.
But that’s untrue (My momma won’t let me say “lie”). The reason it’s untrue is because you are our hope. The collective voices that cannot be silenced are the weapons for this challenge. The people that have decided that this city is special and it will not be taken are the champions of our change. Yes, we need more money. Yes, we need state and federal help. But most of all, this city needs you. Every person that is reading this: you are the hope. You matter. You are critical. You are impactful. And if this city is to survive, more than anything, we need you. I need you.
The members of our church stand ready to build Jackson. Our denomination will not abandon Jackson and will speak to its success. We will use our voice to speak for the voiceless and our power to stand up for the powerless. We have been here 126 years and we are determined to be here 126+ more.
Thank you for making this city special. Thank you for giving me hope. Thank you for being our family. The Church of Christ Holiness USA loves you, Jackson. It is a pleasure being in this wonderful city with you.
Your fellow citizen,
Bishop Glake Hill Jr.
Presiding Bishop, COCHUSA