East Texas Church Buses Feel Pain At The Pump - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

04/23/08- Longview

East Texas Church Buses Feel Pain At The Pump

Each week, Longview Temple Baptist Church buses travel from town to town picking up people, taking them to church.

But as KLTV 7 LaKecia Shockley shows us, the pain at the pump is forcing the church to make some difficult choices.

"We run 32 buses on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and some of them on Wednesday night," said Bob Gray II, assistant pastor of Longview Baptist Temple.

Gray says as fuel prices continue to rise, his church is feeling the pain at the pump. "Right now we're spending $2300 a week in gas and that's before we decided to cut back our miles 30 percent, due to the cost of gas going up. The highest gallon one of our drivers paid this past week, was in Shreveport for $4.18 a gallon," said Gray.

 For 40 years Longview Baptist Temple has been driving church buses all over in hopes of winning souls and spreading the good word. "We average 3600 miles a month traveling to Shreveport, Bossier City, Tyler, Marshall, Kilgore and Gladewater, to pick up people to come to church," said Gray 

The price for the ride is free, but because fuel prices continue to rise, the church is having to cut back on traveling to pick people up for church.  

"I know it's the pain at the pump with the price, but the pain our church feels is having to look at somebody and say, 'No, we can't pick you up,' and that's hard," said Gray.

Longview Temple bus driver Joe Wegner starts driving his bus headed to Shreveport at 5:30a.m.

"We normally average between 40 and 50 on our bus coming in from Shreveport. There are people who've been on the buses longer than I've been driving them. They ride because they find a place that cares," said Wegner. Though the cost of filling up the tank brings pain, Joe still keeps the faith.

"The Bible says, my God shall supply all of my needs and money for gas is a need."

A need that will hopefully get some heavenly relief.

LaKecia Shockley, Reporting. lshockley@kltv.com

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