True fun-raiser: Open Door Open benefits Open Door Community House

It might not have been the Masters, but one player noted the slickness of the greens. There was no stunning oceanfront view like at Pebble Beach. No galleries to cheer on the players. A skittish squirrel, or passing golf cart, was the players’ primary company.

No matter. Tuesday found about 36 players hitting the links at Maple Ridge Golf Club and enjoying each other’s company in the third annual Open Door Open. It benefited Open Door Community House, a full-range social services ministry on Second Avenue, affiliated with the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church and the United Way.

Among its many services: children and youth ministries, and a showering program open four days a week that allows homeless people to clean up and enjoy a free breakfast.

The Rev. Buddy Cooper of St. Paul United Methodist Church has played in the Open all three years.

“I believe in Open Door and helping those kids, and the people who use the showering program, because of the chance they get to feel like a real person,” Cooper said on the driving range. “Most ministries are interminable. As soon as one group of kids leaves, there comes a new group. … There’s a greater need now than when they started. Open Door is faithful. You can judge it by the number of greater needs.”

Charlotte Quirk, branch manager of the Second Avenue CB&T, was the lone female among all the players. She was in a foursome with George Claridy, Trae Cook and Lane Jimmerson. Cook also works for CB&T. Claridy owns American Canopy and Window, and Jimmerson owns Valley Appliances.

Quirk picked up the game when she dated a professional golfer in college.

“He got me in it and I mainly just tinker with it,” said Quirk, sporting a pink-colored driver. (The rest of her clubs aren’t pink, she said.)

Quirk said she wanted to raise money for Open Door in part because it’s a neighbor to her bank down the street.

“I love what they do,” she said.

The Rev. Kim Jenkins has directed Open Door since 2003. The first Open in 2008 generated $10,000, but Jenkins said participation and therefore proceeds have declined since. She wonders if it should be moved out of the summer, because of the heat and because many people are on vacation.

The most prominent fundraiser for Open Door is the Walk Classic, held each spring.

The Open was the brainchild of the Rev. Daryl Brown, a former associate pastor at St. Paul United Methodist who moved in June to a new appointment.

“The board members have picked it up and run with it,” Jenkins said.

This year marks Open Door’s 75th anniversary.

The center’s beginnings were humble: Two women — Addie Greeley, a Methodist deaconess, and Lizzie Evans — came to Columbus in 1924 and began ministering to children in the basement of Hamp Stevens Methodist Church in Bibb City. (The church has since closed.) They believed that the community needed a way to respond to the suffering during the Depression years after one of the largest mills operating in the area closed and people were in need.

In addition to after-school tutoring and showers for the homeless, it offers:

Ÿ a transition home for women and children

Ÿ the Open Door Institute, which prepares aspiring cooks for the trade

Ÿ free counseling and chaplain services

Ÿ community case management

Ÿ clothing for all ages, with required vouchers

Tuesday’s golf tournament was a scramble. The Rev. Shane Green, the United Methodist district superintendent in the South Georgia Conference, played his round with three other clergy: the Revs. Mark Magoni of Midland United Methodist Church; Brett Maddocks, minister of evangelism at St. Luke; and Scott Hagan of Epworth. Their team won.

Their foursome started on No. 6.

“When you write about it,” Green said after his shot to the green, “say it went in the hole.”

Allison Kennedy, reporter, can be contacted at 706-576-6237

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