The 15,000-member Inspiring Body of Christ Church in Dallas, Texas, became a big blessing for some 100 senior citizens on Thanksgiving Day when leaders surprised them all with rental assistance by committing $100,000 to ensure that they are not evicted from their homes.
“Our ‘Home For Thanksgiving’ Praise Service was a tremendous blessing. Our special guest singers, Jessica Reedy and Tiffany Andrews were powerful, and one of the most inspiring moments of the service was IBOC's surprise to 100 senior citizens. #IBOC Church and Pastor Rickie Rush are thankful that God positioned us to provide rental assistance to 100 senior citizens! Glory to God! IBOC has committed $100,000 to ensure these seniors are not evicted from their homes,” the church announced on Instagram.
Founded by evangelist Rickie G. Rush, IBOC is one of the largest nondenominational megachurches in the Dallas Metroplex.
Betty Young, who was among the lucky recipients of rental assistance from the church, told CBS News affiliate KHOU 11 that she had been having a tough time making ends meet during the pandemic and was relieved she didn’t have to worry about how she would pay her rent for a while.
“God is an awesome God, and He works in mysterious ways. I was praying the other night, I didn’t know how my rent was going to be paid,” Young said. “I was totally surprised.”
The church works with Dallas County Precinct 1 Judge Valencia Nash, Judge Thomas G. Jones, and Constable Tracey Gulley to find seniors who need help as their team often has to execute eviction orders, the network said.
”At a time like this, especially with the pandemic, it’s saying that we need to keep seniors in their home and do all that we can do,” Jones said of the program which helps residents who are disabled or 65 and older.
The rental assistance is being processed through Precinct 1 and is going to help residents who are 65 and older or disabled.
Help from IBOC for seniors comes amid recent investigative reports from The Dallas Morning News alleging that Rush sexually abused two sisters beginning when they were in high school in the 1990s and later beat three other teenage church members with a wooden paddle in the name of discipline.
The reports led to protests at the church from women who run survivor advocacy groups in North Texas.
“We want to be there to stand with these survivors,” Carolyn Hudson, director of Silent Screams, a resource center for those who have experienced sexual abuse, told The Dallas Morning News in September. “We need to let them know that we believe them because we have had our own experiences.”
Hudson also called on church leaders and congregations to listen when people speak up about abuse.
“It happens in many churches but the church leadership seems to stay silent about it,” she said. “Many times when the victim speaks, the congregation comes against the victim.”
Responding to the protests at the time, Rush’s lawyer, Michael Heiskell, noted in a statement that: “Pastor Rush has been in the forefront of providing outstanding services to his flock and to the community at large and he will not be drawn into the contrived drama of a few disgruntled folks.”
Rush is not currently facing any criminal charges from the allegations.