Exodus Homes “Giving Back” Gospel Concert

Friday January 7, 2011  •  7:00pm  •  FREE and all are invited!
Exodus Missionary Outreach Church, 1763 Highland Ave. NE, Hickory, NC 28601

The 7th annual “Giving Back” Gospel Concert will be held Friday January 7, 2011 7:00pm at Exodus Missionary Outreach Church in Hickory, and will feature the renown Exodus Missionary Outreach Church Gospel Choir under the direction of Minister of Music Zack Martin. Many of the choir members are current or former Exodus Homes residents or have received help in their prison ministry or community outreach. William Mangum, the Greensboro artist who created the nationally recognized Honor Card program that raises funds for homeless shelters during the holidays will be the featured guest. 
This year they have even more to be thankful for than in years past. The recession and extremely high resident unemployment has seriously impacted the program. In 2009 four people were laid off, salaries were cut, and health benefits eliminated. In October 2010 five executive staff began working without pay and two housing locations were closed to keep the doors open in the remaining six housing locations. A public appeal to save the organization went out at the end of November, and the community has responded with an outpouring of financial gifts and offers to help.  The organization has stabilized for the moment, but they are not out of the woods yet. The board and staff still have much work to do in streamlining the program so it can be sustained by available  revenue.   
Exodus Homes Executive Director Rev. Reggie Longcrier expressed his gratitude for the generosity of the community saying, “We want to thank all of our supporters for believing in us.  The community has spoken with their gifts and offers of help . We have received so many kind letters and notes that let us know they need us to survive. We can’t let them down. ”  Assistant executive director Rev. Susan Smith says their supporters have kept the program from being another statistic in the recession. “Individuals, churches and businesses have been very good to us this year, and helped us keep our doors open. Four other programs similar to ours have already closed; two in Statesville, one in Charlotte and one in Kannapolis.  Community based funding will be the key to our survival in the days to come.”                
The “Giving Back” Gospel Concert is an annual event that has become an end of holiday tradition for many in this area. Contemporary and traditional gospel music is performed by the Exodus Choir that is well known for its energy and  excellence. The audience is invited to clap their hands, stomp their feet, and get up and dance! Several current and former Exodus Homes residents will give brief testimonies of appreciation, and William Mangum will thank all those who sold or bought Honor Cards to help raise funds for Exodus Homes.  The Unifour Christian Fellowship Church Praise and Worship Team from Newton will sing from 6:30pm – 7:00pm as people are seated. People are encouraged to come a little early to get a good seat, as the event is usually very well attended.  Light refreshments will be served in the fellowship hall after the concert.
For more information  about the “Giving Back” Gospel Concert, contact Rev. Susan Smith 828-962-8196 or susansmith@charter.net.