The Rev. David Ennis, of Millville, started In His Presence Church from the storefront of his Christian bookstore on High Street about 10 years ago. He didn’t just assume he knew how to help his community. He and members went out and asked people what they needed, he said.
As a result, the church, now located on Broad Street, started programs to minister to prostitutes and to combat human trafficking of young women and men, boys and girls. It has opened the Epiphany Community Center and runs programs for disadvantaged men, a food pantry and a program to prepare people to earn GEDs.
“We put a lot of emphasis on understanding the culture,” said Ennis, 47, adding that his 74-year-old mother, Phyllis Jamison, of Millville, is about to earn her GED there. “You have to minister to what you have.”
Prostitution has become a way of making a living for people who have few options, he said.
“I don’t endorse it, but it is what people resort to,” he said. Bringing people to faith “takes time, and it’s a process.”
Ennis has experienced personal tragedy. In 2006, his brother Charles “Bunky” Jones was shot and killed at age 43 in Millville by a young man angry with his step-daughter. Within days, Ennis went to stores and purchased handgun ammunition without documentation, then held a news conference to show how easy it was to get deadly ammunition. New Jersey now requires ammunition purchasers to show a valid firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun.
“It’s not the gun that kills people, it’s the ammo you put in it,” Ennis said.
Ennis and his wife, Starr, were recently honored by the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Woodbine photographer's works in exhibit
Photographer William R. West Jr., of Woodbine, is one of five artists from South Jersey with works in Gloucester County College’s Fall Art Exhibition.
The exhibit also includes work by glass artist Paul Stankard, of Mantua Township, Gloucester County. It runs until Nov. 28 in the Eugene J. McCaffrey College Center in Deptford. For more information, call 856-415-2122.
Ellison School students win Quiz Bowl
The Ellison School in Vineland had the winning trivia team in the fifth annual St. Augustine Prep Quiz Bowl last week. Participants from our area include Vineland residents Jake Aulffo, eighth grade; Spencer Infranco, eighth grade; Anuj Patel, seventh grade; Jonah Hammerstedt, seventh grade; Julia Albertson, seventh grade; Gianni Finizio, eighth grade; Jake Ottinger, seventh grade; and Priya Patel, seventh grade.