Pastor Rudy and The Knowles Family Change The World One Life At Time

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    “I am committed to touching and changing the world…one life at time,” Pastor Rudy says.

    Rudy Rasmus is an author, pastor, street ethicist, and global humanitarian with a passion for outreach. In 1992, with his wife Juanita, he began to co-pastor St. Johns United Methodist, a tiny church in downtown Houston, and founded the Bread of Life program to help the most disadvantaged communities in the city.  The church started with 9 members. Long-time friends Tina & Mathew Knowles were some of the church’s earliest supporters. Fast forward less than twenty years later, and St. Johns and The Bread of Life have changed the landscape of Downtown Houston by providing 9 tons of fresh food weekly to hungry families, 12,000 hot meals monthly and nightly housing to hundreds of chronically homeless men and women. The Rasmus’ also developed the Temenos Community Development Corporation and thanks to a generous donation from Tina & Mathew, and their daughters Beyoncé and Solange,  the $7 million Knowles-Temenos Place Apartments opened in 2009, providing 43 formerly homeless residents a permanent-supportive apartment to take significant steps in improving their lives.

    As the Knowles family stardom grew, first with Destiny’s Child and Beyonce, then with Solange, Tina’s fashion lines, and Mathew’s MusicWorld labels, so did Pastor Rudy’s global humanitarian efforts. For the past few years, Pastor Rudy has coordinated his domestic and global anti-hunger initiatives in conjunction with Beyoncé’s worldwide concert tours. Touch1.org was launched during Beyoncé’s most recent I Am…Sasha Fierce tour with food drives held during her concerts in Houston, Atlanta, D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles. Thousands of pounds of food were donated to food banks in each tour city. Last year, General Mills Foods (Hamburger Helper) and Feeding America (the nation’s leading hunger-relief charity), further partnered with St. Johns and Beyonce to help battle hunger in America. The goal was to deliver more than 3.5 million meals to local food banks in her tour cities.

    Destiny's Child Donated St. Johns Church Vans are still in use

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    Now over 12,000 people have walked down the aisle and joined St. John’s making it one of the most culturally diverse congregations in the country. 4,000 of the flock were homeless or formerly homeless. In fact, the current intake counselor at St. John’s Bread of Life ministry was, herself, in the long line of the homeless and hungry. And the receptionist was a victim of  Hurricane Katrina. A former addict and victim of childhood incest and abuse now oversees HIV testing and education.

    Pastor Rudy attributes the success of the ministry to a compassionate congregation who has embraced the vision of tearing down the walls of classism, sexism, and racism and building bridges of unconditional love, universal recovery, and unprecedented hope.

    Pastor Rudy: “Jesus would help you out if you were lost on the street, so why shouldn’t we reach out to our brother and pick him up when he needs it? I learned that lesson. I took hold of the hands that helped me. I want to teach others to help others. Then others learn he is real and they teach others. It’s what we are called to do.”

    For the past three years Pastor Rudy contributed monthly to Oprah Winfrey’s “O Magazine” in an ethics column entitled “Now What Do I Do.” and is currently featured monthly in Epitome Magazine. He recently began taking his “Ask Pastor Rudy” street ethics to the world weekly via SiriusXM radio where he provides answers to listeners toughest challenges and plays music to live and love by. He’s also the author of the book, “Touch: Pressing Against The Wounds Of A Broken World” (Thomas Nelson Publishers) which profiles his life story, his unique brand of faith sharing, and the radical hospitality learned in his previous life as the owner of a “borderline bordello” in Houston, Texas. Pastor Rudy’s first music project entitled “Touch: The Pastor Rudy Experience” is on Music World Entertainment’s gospel label and features phenomenal artist like Brian Courtney Wilson, Soul Fruit, and Nikki Ross.

    Statistics show that hunger hits families where both parents are working but struggle to make ends meet; hunger affects seniors who find themselves with limited access to transportation and food; and hunger affects more than 12 million children who may not know where they will find their next meal.

    Beyoncé grew up attending St. John’s Church with Pastor Rudy, where she learned at a young age the importance of reaching out and helping those who are less fortunate. It’s that upbringing that spurred the birth of her Survivor Foundation.

    “Reaching out and touching lives is incredibly empowering. That’s why I want my fans to experience more than my music this summer. I want them to experience the joy of making a difference by helping someone else,” said Beyonce.

    {For more from Oretha Winston follow her on Twitter}

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