New church to give 200 backpacks

A new, local congregation is hoping to make an impact in the community as they prepare for their official church launch.On Sunday, Aug. 17 from 6-7:30 p.m., Bethel Sweetwater will have a back to school backpack/school supply giveaway at Newman Park. Bethel Sweetwater is an extension of Bethel Assembly in Anson.Two hundred backpacks filled with elementary school supplies will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Also at the event, 500 hot dogs will be given away. Carter Edmondson, the pastor of Bethel Sweetwater, shared that members of the church donated all of the school supplies. The church organized the giveaway as a way to be a blessing to others, reach out to citizens and let the community know that the new gathering is in the area.Since May, the group has been meeting on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. this summer to build a core group. What began with 28 people has grown into around 90 congregants, with a recent special event bringing in around 300 people.With a contract set between the church and the Nolan County Coliseum Annex for the next year, the official Bethel Sweetwater church launch will take place on Sunday, Sept. 14, at 10:30 a.m. While all ages will meet together, they are hoping to offer a nursery for the Sunday services. Additionally, different church members have stepped up to teach the younger kids during the service.Edmondson's vision for Bethel Sweetwater is to share life with people who are struggling or hurting, so that "real people can meet with a real God" and fellowship in the Lord. He also desires for the church to have a positive impact and be a benefit to the community.Edmondson previously served as the Associate Pastor of the Anson church for the past nine years, with his ministry in Sweetwater being his first full-time position. He grew up in the area and currently resides in Roby.