Crossing over thresholds: Jonestown center welcomes new leadership

JONESTOWN – A gospel choir sang, prayers were shared and friendships were reaffirmed in a ceremony on May 24 to transfer the sponsorship of the Jonestown Family Center (JFC) from the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary to But God Ministries (BGM).

JONESTOWN – The Jonestown Family Center, pictured in Dec. 2016, is now under the care of But God Ministries. The Holy Name Sisters returned this summer to bless the new arrangement. (Mississippi Catholic file photo)

Holy Names Sisters Mary Ellen Holohan, Kathleen Hilton, Peggy Kennedy, Cathy Leamy, Kay Burton, Teresa Shields, and Maureen Delaney traveled to Jonestown and presented a framed blessing to BGM. About 80 people from the town gathered on the lawn in front of the center for the ceremony of transition. Sister Maureen gave the blessing while the other Sisters joined in prayers to support continued ministries to the people of Jonestown.
Sister Teresa related the history of the JFC, Sister Peggy thanked the JFC Board – which she has chaired for the past 10 years – and the board members all received gift cups made by Sister Kathryn Knoll with their names and the JFC logo on them.
Stan Buckley, the founder and executive director of BGM, said he believes God led him to Jonestown and Sister Teresa. He and his organization feel honored to carry on the ministry that ties in so well with the goals and values of BGM.
BGM has already constructed a new building in Jonestown called the Hope Center, which will house volunteer mission teams as well as providing office and meeting space. BGM volunteer crews have undertaken other projects in Jonestown including painting a local restaurant, establishing a dental office and building houses using the Habitat for Humanity model. Information about BGN can be found at
Jonestown Durocher Service Development, founded by Sister Kay Burton, will continue to operate, and Sister Kay welcomes the presence of BGM.
After 30 years of ministry in Mississippi, the Holy Names Sisters will remain connected to the people of Jonestown and will support them through their prayers, as well as their presence whenever possible.
The text of the blessing from the Sisters reads:
A Blessing from the Sisters of the Holy Names For All The Days to Come
God surprises us with new life and abundance. May the days to come never cease to surprise you.
We trust the loving grace that frees the oppressed and restores justice. May the days to come amaze you with the wondrous changes that God’s love makes possible.
The faith that empowered and sustained the Sisters of the Holy Names in this place is your inheritance in the days to come.
In the holy names of Jesus and Mary, we bless all who minister among the people of Jonestown, Mississippi for all the days to come.

(Submitted by Jennifer Brandlon, director of communications and administrative services for the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.)