Fellowship center named for former Pine Belt minister

A Hattiesburg center held a rededication ceremony Sunday in honor of its founder.
A Hattiesburg center held a rededication ceremony Sunday in honor of its founder.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Hattiesburg center held a rededication ceremony Sunday in honor of its founder.

The Edwards Street Fellowship Center named its building the Warren Pittman Founder's Hall. Pittman founded this center in 1978 after a church abandoned the building. The ministry was and still is committed to "strengthening families and individuals" while meeting needs of the communities it serves.

"I appreciate it very much," says Pittman. "I feel like there are many other people that are involved in everything that has been happening here, and the things that have been achieved. A lot of people."

Pittman served as pastor of Parkway Heights United Methodist Church from 1959-1963 and then as District Superintendent of the United Methodist Church.

Pittman's sons have made a monetary commitment to the center's endowment campaign in honor of their father.

"This has been a wonderful ministry, a great fellowship center for Hattiesburg and this area," says Pittman. "I think this endowment will provide stable funding for many years."

The ESFC Board of Directors recently announced an aggressive $2 million endowment campaign to "develop a stable economy" for the center. Friends of the center say this will fund daily needs and form a secure foundation for future plans. The center currently serves 14 counties in the Pine Belt with nearly 1,700 active clients. Emergency food is provided to approximately 1,000 families each month through the ESFC food pantry. Most recently, the ESFC thrift store opened on Lincoln Road in Hattiesburg in 2012.

"I feel like a lot of people will be grateful and have gratitude for the facilities here and the programs here," says Pittman of the ESFC's services.

The Warren Pittman Founder's Hall and two newer buildings across the street house the administrative center, food pantry and program areas for several organizations, including the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. A half-acre of land across from the hall is used as a community garden and walking trail.

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