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Thursday, March 7, 2013
Thomas Bibby Sr. was living and working in Michigan in the early 2000s when he had a vision to start a church in Roanoke.
That was before he had any inkling that his job with an automotive parts manufacturer was transferring him back to Roanoke, where he and his family had spent most of the 1990s.
“God opened the door and moved us back to Roanoke,” said Barbara Bibby, adding “the Lord had put it in my husband’s heart to come back to Roanoke and start a church.”
And, today the Bibbys and church members start a nine-day celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of Perfecting Unity Church.
Bibby, now bishop, was an elder at Perfecting Church under Bishop Marvin Winans and attended the church’s school of ministry while living in Michigan. On his return to Roanoke, Bibby, who also holds a degree in engineering, held a Bible study at his son’s home, giving Perfecting Unity Church its humble beginning.
The congregation initially held worship services at a northwest Roanoke hotel before finding a space to lease in the Roanoke–Salem Plaza in the 4100 block of Melrose Avenue Northwest.
Winans, recording artist Donnie McClurkin of Perfecting Faith Church, and other Perfecting Church administrators visited Roanoke, praying and approving plans to renovate the mall area into a sanctuary.
The congregation held its first worship service in the renovated church Christmas Day 2004. During its 10 years, the 65 or so active members of the nondenominational church have reached out to the Roanoke and international communities with its programs.
They have had mission trips to the African Congo, Johannesburg, and Hattiesburg, Miss ., said member Lenora Castillo.
The annual “September to Remember” program is a month long event that includes fellowship, worship, prayer and praise services with other churches and community groups.
The church also sponsors Operation T OUCH (Touching Others Using Caring Hands), a program that assembles businesses, non profits, small business owners and individuals to provide a day of service to the homeless and low-income residents across the Roanoke Valley.
Bishop Shadrack Brown Jr. of Garden of Prayer No. 7 in Roanoke will lead the opening services today at 7:30 p.m. A musical celebration will be held Sunday at 4 p.m.
Nightly services that start Monday begin at 7:30 and will be led by ministers including Winans, McClurkin, Bishop Liston Page II and Pastor Kathy O’Keeffe of Kingdom Life Ministries.
For a full list of services and speakers, call 265-5995.
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