Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson is building back her community one block at a time
Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 ABC Louisville
Kentuckiana has so many fascinating women leaders working for the betterment of the community. Dr. Jamesetta Ferguson had a vision that takes up a whole block. I spoke to the visionary in today’s Moments that Matter.
Ferguson spent a lot of time just across the street in Beecher Terrace at her aunt’s when her mother was at work. Not knowing as a little girl that someday she would be able to turn the parking lot into a block of desperately needed resources. But before she had the vision Dr. Ferguson also fondly known as Pastor J travelled to Africa on a mission trip where her vision became clear.
Ferguson says “I visited a young woman who had, who was taking the anti-viral drug. She had HIV. She had a young son and the mission that I went there for working with people infected or effected by HIV and AIDS because reckoning race and reconciliation. So when we went to this young woman’s house. I came into her house and she grab me and starting weeping and started saying MOLO momma MOLO and learned that meant ‘welcome home’.”
While in Africa. Ferguson spoke to a minister with a large congregation. He shared his success and how to be resourceful. The minister said to Ferguson, “I used what I got! I use what I got! I had the mindset prior to that, that we had this historical building next door but we were not using the entire building.” She went on to say “So when I came back. We changed our attitudes to use what we got . God would not bless us more until we start using what God had provided for us already.”
She had a shift in her mindset. Her faithful team started serving about a thousand people a week. Plus, providing a long list of resources and services. “We had the clothes ministry, we had recovery ministry, we had Dare to Care ministry, Senior ministry, We had Youth ministry. We had everything in that building. We no longer worried about the condition of the building. It wasn’t that it was falling down it just needed some repair.”
Early, 2006, Dr. Ferguson was welcomed to church but not with some opposition but later being named pastor of the congregation. She says “And at that point there were 15 German-American senior adults at the church of that 15, one left cause he did not want to worship with a person that look like me.
Even though she could not speak German but she had an appreciation of their culture because her father. Ferguson says “My father actually was the first student at Louisville Municipal College which was the Black portion of the University of Louisville to major in German.”
They went into planning, and creating partnerships of how to utilize the city block they owned. They started the process to resurrect the community. “We decided to take the east parking lot of the church and develop the Village of West Jefferson. Being in a community one without for such a long period of time. This facility here is the first new construction on Jefferson Street of West Jefferson Street in over 30 years.”
Dr. Ferguson tells me she’s far from being done. She has a lot more work to do. Her next big undertaking will be in the renovation of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ.
The MOLO Village is located at 1219 W. Jefferson Street in West Louisville.
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