WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Congressman David McKinley (R-WV) paid a visit to Bethlehem Apostolic Temple on Thursday afternoon. He was there to learn more about what is going on in North Wheeling and to see the church’s Dream Center firsthand.
During his five terms in Congress, Rep. McKinley has made an effort to meet face-to-face with residents of his district. He says this is something members of Congress don’t do enough of.
“Some of the conversation that takes place on the House floor or in the Senate is so unlike what takes place around people’s dinner tables, where they’re talking as family,” said Rep. McKinley. “We want to make sure we’re hearing what is actually on people’s minds, not what is on the minds of politicians.”
Congressman McKinley spoke with members of the Bethlehem Apostolic Temple about the church’s Dream Center in North Wheeling, as well as other issues affecting our community.
Dr. Darrell Cummings has been the senior pastor at Bethlehem Apostolic Temple for nearly 30 years and says McKinley stands out from his predecessors.
“We have invited our representative every year for 30 years and every year they did not show up,” said Cummings. “We knew (McKinley) even before he was a Congressman. He helped build the church in 1973.”
Rep. McKinley also helped the church during another time of need.
“In the early 1990’s, a building that we had got burned down by arson,” said Dr. Cummings. “He wasn’t a Congressman then but he just came to help us and we appreciate it.”
Meetings like these are quite common for Rep. McKinley. The seventh-generation Wheeling native says he is only in the district for about one-quarter of the year. But during that time, he holds about 300 meetings with constituents.
McKinley says he will do his best to secure federal funding that could help renovate the church’s Dream Center, which Pastor Cummings has big plans for.
“We have a youth center in the lower part of it, we’re working on a gymnasium, we would like to be able to have an office space for entrepreneurs who want to be here,” Cummings said. “We’re challenged by the roof, it’s something we’ve been dealing with for over a year in terms of the cost of getting it fixed. We believe we’re going to get it done. He didn’t promise that he could solve any of those problems, but he did take time to listen and we’re grateful for that.”