It's Sunday morning and church is happening at New Days Community Church. It's something that may not seem that unusual until you consider how far this church has come.
For almost eighty years the churches' building has sit at the crossroads of Broadway and Gentry in Tyler. It was once a school, then a dentention center of juveniles in trouble with the law. Just three years ago it was an abandoned eye sore that stood as the gateway to the city's north side.
"There were a lot of reasons not to come into this building, but I'm convinced that when God gives you a vision and you stay in contact with him in prayer, he provides everything you need, and so far that's exactly what has happened," said New Days Senior Pastor Reverend Reginald Garrett. "This building was an eyesore. It continues to have a lot of work that needs to be done to it, but God has provided for us, and we are just convinced that even with all that we need to do in the future, God is going to continue to provide for us." It was almost two years ago that New Days Ministry moved its operation to this location. Even today, there are still signs of the buildings storied past. New Days uses about half the building, the other, like this old jail cell still waits to be renovated.
"The reason this story is so powerful is because of prayer," said Garrett. "It really has. It has been prayer, God leading us, bringing people and circumstances into our lives it has really brought this building around." Garrett says the church is being deliberate in its growth. Staying in contact Garrett says was key in the ministry and to the power of prayer.
"We are a prayerful community," says Garrett. "New Days is a prayerful community. We realize that if God gave us the vision God would give us the resources to do what we need to do and, so far that is exactly what has happened." The congregation has grown almost three times over since moving to the new location, but even more important has been the impact Garrett has seen on this neighborhood and community.
"Neighbors who really didn't know each other, who saw each other come and go kind of rallied around this building, this church to bring the neighborhood together," said Garrett. "That is really our desire, that's really our desire to bring some pride back. People need to be proud of where they live even in spite of the circumstances they need to be proud of it, and that's what we are hoping that happens and that is what is beginning to happen." The church is in the middle of a capitol campaign to update the old buildings infrastructure. Heating and air conditioning in parts of the building date back almost 50 years, but as each day passes and prayers are answered, the ministry believes it can answer the prayers of not only a neighborhood, but a city.
"We hope that New Days is a symbol of the revitalization of north Tyler, of what God can do," said Garrett. "There are limited resources there is no question about that. We recognize that, but we know if we keep in contact and that is what prayer is, is keeping in contact with God, following God's vision we hope that not only north Tyler, but all of Tyler sees this as a revitalization of original Tyler."