Houston Pastor Elmo Johnson Credits God for Transforming City’s 4th Ward

Elmo Johnson, pastor of Rose of Sharon Baptist Church in inner-city Houston, talks with neighbors on the street. (Ken Camp/Baptist Standard)
Elmo Johnson, pastor of Rose of Sharon Baptist Church in inner-city Houston, talks with neighbors on the street. (Ken Camp/Baptist Standard)

Elmo Johnson rejects any personal credit for transforming Houston’s 4th Ward since he arrived as pastor of Rose of Sharon Missionary Baptist Church 30 years ago. But he’s eager to give God the glory.

“The Lord has done some great things here,” Johnson said.

Three decades ago, drug deals occurred daily on most street corners, and addicts sought shelter in burned-out or dilapidated row houses in the historically African-American community, originally known as Freedmen’s Town.

“First it was Freedmen’s Town. Then it became the 4th Ward. Now, they call it Midtown,” he said.

Housing boom

Within the last decade, the area began to attract upwardly mobile young professionals who moved into newly built high-rise condos and townhouses. But the market-driven housing boom in the 4th Ward likely would not have occurred without the catalyst Rose of Sharon and its nonprofit community development arm, Uplift 4th Ward, provided.

In 2006, the church, Uplift 4th Ward and a wide variety of ministry partners and volunteers known as “Elmo’s Army” built the 20-unit Crawford W. Kimble Senior Living complex across the street from Rose of Sharon to meet the needs of low-income elderly residents. Next, Uplift 4th Ward and its partners built additional housing in the area for low- to moderate-income residents.

The construction company that built the senior living center — Trammell Crow Residential — continues to work in partnership with Rose of Sharon, providing hams the church distributes to its neighbors each Thanksgiving.

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SOURCE: Baptist News Global
Ken Camp

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