CL I CK P I CTURE TO VI S IT
ABUNDANT GRACE FELLOWSHI P . . .
Story and Pictures by Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson
I can remember visiting Abundant Grace Fellowship when it was located on West Raines at Westmont Road. I distantly
remember meeting the Senior Pastor, Dwayne Hunt, and working with Elder Earl Sayles, someone who regularly kept me
abreast of the many good things that were happening at and through Abundant Grace in its former Westwood area
location. This must have been around 2004-05.
Fast forward a few years. Several places of worship have tried to make 1574 East Shelby Drive home, but sometime
around or after 2007, Dwayne Hunt made the location part of the Abundant Grace vision. From that day to this, I have
seen nothing but great things happening from that location.
In addition to Hunt, the leadership team includes Sayles, the Connections Pastor; Clifton Johnson, the Administrative
Pastor; Children’s Ministry Pastor, Gayle Hunt; Young Adult Pastor, Elyse Jones; and Healing Grace, Elder Jacqueline
McCreight. Service begins Sunday mornings at 10 AM and Bible Study and Bible Study Groups meet on Wednesday’s at
11:30 AM and 6:45 PM. The office can be reached by phoning (901) 789-4722, the same number the church had on East
I sat in on the 10 AM service on Sunday, May 19, 2019. Pastor Hunt has a unique way of teaching the Bible, one that,
like myself, believe most everyone would thoroughly enjoy. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed the lesson because I understood
the message and I understood the message so well, that I was able to recite parts of it to others days after I’d heard it. The
message that Sunday had four main characters (1) the Father - Isaac, a type of God the Father; (2) the Mother - Rebekah,
a type of Church; (3) the Older Brother - Esau, a type of Jesus; and the younger Brother - Jacob, a type of us. Do you know
this story? The way Pastor Hunt explained it made it simple to understand, but “when is a lie, not a lie?” was the question
he posed. I replied, “Never, and I believe that I was correct.”
As the story went, the Father was old and failing and witnessed this to his 1st born Son, Jesus. Although a private
conversation, the Mother (the church) overheard the conversation and quickly called for the Brother. The Father had
instructed Jesus to go fetch goats and to prepare his favorite meal and bring it to him so that he could give the “Blessing.”
Jesus had left to fetch and prepare the meal for his father, but the Mother and Brother were faster accomplishing the
task because they worked together whereas Jesus worked alone (this is my interpretation). The Brother came back with
the fetch and the Mother prepared it as the Brother clothed himself in Jesus best suit of clothing. Now the Brother
smelled like Jesus, but his skin was smooth, not hairy like Jesus’ skin, so the Mother used the fur from the goats he had
fetched to put over his smooth skin. The Brother was still concerned that the Father would know who he was, but the
Mother insisted and he went in to serve the Father the meal she had prepared. The Father ate the food and questioned
the Brother. When the Brother said he was the 1st born, the Father did indeed believe him and gave him the “Blessing.”
So when is a lie, not a lie? I still say, “Never.” What do you say? And how can you relate to the moral of this story?
The story did end with a demonstration using two church members who enacted the various parts of the story for
additional clarity. The entire ceremony was entertaining, yet informative and it did not include anything that wasn’t
necessary for even the youngest mind to understand. Of course the Father recognized his error when Jesus returned, but
just like you and I, he could not take back that which has already happened.
Upon being satisfied with his sermon, Pastor Hunt and Elder Sayles welcomed two of the four new members to the
stage to be introduced to and inducted into their new church families and then invited two families with new babies
requiring christening. A few important announcements were made and I even had another chance to alert more Shelby
County residents about the environmental injustice being delivered directly to residents in the northwestern part of
Whitehaven—the individuals who live close to Waste Connections of TN, LLC, the waste transfer service company that
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has grown out of the land they purchased from the city of Memphis in 1999 and feels that it is now their right to be able
to expand onto 30 additional adjacent acres purchased without receiving an approval to expand—something those who
live in the area are not willing to agree with, under no circumstances. My plea was for individuals, since the city opened
arguments up to “ALL INTERESTED PROPERTY OWNERS,” to join us at City Hall, 125 North Main Street, in the first floor
City Council chambers to fight this request to expand because it impacts:
1) Our health through releases or disease or allergy-causing matter in the form of disease-causing organisms,
cancer-causing substances, dust or other respiratory irritants, noise and odors, and a host of other undesirable
scenarios into the air we breathe, soil we grow our food in, and/or water we drink, cook with, and wash ourselves
and everything else with;
2) Our peacefulness because of sounds that disturb us in our homes which makes it difficult to relax, concentrate or
even share a conversation with others, early in the morning and late night noises make sleep disruptive, backup
beepers and the clang of tail gates slamming against heavy truck bodies, and public address system outdoor
speakers are annoyingly loud and another uncontrollable source of noise.
3) Our ability to breathe fresh air is hindered because when odors are bad they are offensively smelly at distances of
up to four or five miles depending on the strength of the wind, something no man can control. Some items release
dangerous hydrogen-sulfide odors and solid waste that contains organic matter like egg shells, banana peels,
fruits, and vegetables, used diapers (youth and/or adult), other food wastes, pet waste, etc. or “putrescible waste”
is capable of being decomposed by microorganisms and are of such a character and proportion as to cause
obnoxious odors and to be capable of attracting or providing foods for birds, rats (we have those already roaming
around and coming inside our homes where we live invading our property). We’ve been informed that odor
neutralizers and deodorizers have been installed, but those are cheap answers to the expense problem we are
attempting to address—nauseating smells. We are not interested in having odor control blankets installed
alongside fans to further blow these odor neutralizing agents across our neighborhood and we have never seen
this organization using carbon scrubbers to clean the odorous water they are obviously creating. Furthermore, an
active gas extraction system, and not deodorants, is the most reliable means of controlling these types of odors.
4) Our property values are plummeting downward. This place can be seen, it sits right off of Brooks Road and the
proposed expansion request moves it directly adjacent to the actual street. This facility can be heard with their
loudly beeping trucks all throughout the day and night, including the sounds from outdoor announcement
systems, and employees whose voices carry with the smell in the wind right through our walls, windows, and
doors. And this place can be smelled and, unfortunately, the smell is anything but a pleasant one. These are all
factors that are known to lower property values, properties that we have paid for in many cases and had always
planned to die in, but not from cancer-causing diseases floating through the air because of Waste Connections of
TN, LLC operations. Studies are available from other states that have proven property values are lower when
waste facilities are close by. Maybe we need a study on the impact of this facility in Memphis, huh?
5) Our streets and the tremendous amount of truck traffic especially including those that disobey the “NO TRUCKS”
signs and travel, illegally and at high rates of speed, on McCorkle and Graves Roads, which can also have the final
result of significantly lowering property values and increasing the possibility of accidents and uncontrollable
6) Our natural water sources because when it rains and that water comes in contact with waste being transferred to
other locations but is stationary at this transfer station, this mixing of water with already decomposing waste
creates a high-contaminated liquid known as leachate which can then easily get into underlying groundwater and
the nearby Nonconnah Creek waterway. Regardless as to what measures are being undertaken, nothing being
done currently or that can be done in the future, will prevent eventual water pollution.
We need your assistance to help our City Council members to understand that the key to minimizing the Waste
Connections of TN, LLC waste facility impact involves minimizing the amount and type of waste requiring transferring
from this 621 East Brooks Road location and that means NO EXPANSION, NO EXPANDING, NO BURMS, NO MOVING THE
OFFICES, NO REBUILDING, NO MORE PARKING AND/OR STORAGE OFF THE APPROVED PREMISES, NO MORE FAVORS,
NO MORE PROMISES TO PASS THIS MONSTROSITY in our neighbors backyards. This was put on hold for 30 days...
Waste facilities should be located in industrial areas and away from homes. If this facility was “grandfathered in,” it
needs to understand that being grandfathered in only refers to continuing present operations UNTIL you outgrow them.
Nowhere does it say being grandfathered in gives you the right to expand! If you must move something, move your waste
collection facility, not your offices! Your waste collection operation should be located at least 1,500 feet from our homes.
Stop traveling on our residential streets. They are prohibited and signs are posted. If the police won’t enforce the rules,
we will. Your proposed new facility may have state-of-the-art equipment to control odors, dust, airborne pathogens, and
allergens, but your existing facility does not. If you need to build, then you need to move to an industrial area to do so, not
on Brooks Road right behind our homes.
Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson
Please join us at 5:58 PM on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 905 E. Shelby Drive and
visit the Waste Connections tab at iLoveShelbyCounty.com for updates