Holy present! Stackhouse gives mom a church

Updated: August 27, 2006, 10:11 PM ET
Associated Press

KINSTON, N.C. -- Young athletes who make it big often share their success by buying their parents a car or a house.

Jerry Stackhouse

Dallas Mavericks guard Jerry Stackhouse did much the same. Only the house he gave his mother was a house of worship.

The Stackhouse family came together Sunday in their hometown for the dedication of the House of Hope Free Will Baptist Church, which the three-time NBA All-Star paid to refurbish for its pastor -- his mother, Minnie.

"She has been dedicated to serving the community as long as I can remember," Stackhouse said. "That's more than 30 years."

The building, which formerly housed a different church, replaces one that Minnie Stackhouse ran in a different neighborhood of Kinston. Her new parish is located closer to the people she hopes her ministry will reach.

"This is a special day for this church and my mother," Jerry Stackhouse said. "She now has a place where she feels she can best manage her programs and best serve the community."

The church has actually been active for some time, holding its first service in November and a Thanksgiving feast two weeks later for people in need.

More than 300 people attended Sunday's dedication.

"I'm just overwhelmed by all of this," Minnie Stackhouse said after the service. "It is just so overwhelming when God blesses something you so strongly desire.

"I don't know what the future here will be," she added. "But God does."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press