Rev. Cheryl Jones-Ross founded Greater Hope Restoration Ministries after finding God
She is the founder of a thriving church. An author. An editor of a gospel magazine.
But before that, she was a drug addict. A battered wife. A single parent with three kids living in shelters.
“I’ve had a very colorful life,” said Rev. Cheryl Jones-Ross, founder and Pastor of Greater Hope Restoration Ministries in the South Hills.
The ministry was launched with five members in Oct. 2014 in a space inside Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1700 Bower Hill Rd. Now, there are hundreds of members, and roughly 100 active weekly members, Rev. Jones-Ross said.
“We do a lot of outreach, we feed 100 families per month, and we have a ministry at the Boys & Girls Club in Carnegie where we play games, hold bible study, play basketball, mentor, and teach (the youth) career goals.”
And some of the youth that have been mentored “have become members of the church,” Rev. Jones-Ross said.
She also said Greater Hope Restoration Ministries is a house of worship that is judgment-free.
“We built this church on community outreach. The people that come to our church literally came from the streets; they were not saved, they found a place where they can be accepted.”
Perhaps one reason why Rev. Jones-Ross’ church accepts all is because the woman who began the church was not always picture perfect. Rev. Jones-Ross, a Greene County native, said her problems began early, when her parents passed away. “My worst years were the ’80s,” she said. “I was a drug addict (crack cocaine), came out of an abusive marriage and lived in a shelter for battered women with three kids.”
Rev. Jones-Ross said the transformation process did not happen overnight. But, “I made myself stay in the process, went to church, continued to go to bible study,” she said.
So how did Rev. Jones-Ross turn the tide?
“I had a pastor that loved me, not just in word, but he helped me through some of the worst parts of my life. Taught the Word, made us be accountable to the Word, and because of his teachings that gave me the spiritual foundation that I needed to get through the rough times and be able to grow,” she said. Then, Rev. Jones-Ross’ sister died from cancer of the appendix. “That was it, I had never been without my sister. It was the point that totally changed my life.”
And so it was time to get to work. Rev. Jones-Ross had been performing a variety of ministerial duties at a church in Washington County, but made the decision to begin her own ministry. Greater Hope Restoration Ministries, a non-denominational church, is rooted in bringing people to the church who may have never attended church regularly before, and might be experiencing suffering.
“We don’t encourage people to stay in their situation, we encourage people to come out of their situation,” Rev. Jones-Ross said. “We literally take their hands and walk them out.”
“We have everyday life issues just like you,” said Theresa Baker, the church’s administrator. “We have families, jobs and we go through some of the same problems everyone else does. It makes people comfortable; they can voice something that they are going through and they won’t be condemned.”
Baker, one of the original members of the church, also said that “none of us, from the Pastor down, give off an aura or even believe that we are perfect. We are real people, and people can relate whenever you’re real.”
Greater Hope Restoration Ministries holds services Sundays at 12:45 p.m., with a breakfast Sundays at 11:30 a.m. The church has bible study Wednesdays at 7 p.m., men’s ministry every other Friday, women’s group’s every Tuesday, and youth ministry every other Thursday.
The church will hold its annual Women’s Conference this weekend (April 7-8). The title is “Healing, Encouragement, Love and Soundness for the total woman (HEELS).” The theme is “Rise, take up thy bed and walk!” Messenger Annette Caswell will speak Friday at 7 p.m., and events begin at 9 a.m. Saturday with a panel discussion themed, “Stepping into your next level.” All events are free except the luncheon on Saturday afternoon (April 8).
Some of the same teachings and principles that gave Rev. Jones-Ross the inspiration to pen the book, “Fire of God,” and start HEELS Gospel Magazine can be learned by other women at the conference.
“To really find out who they are, that’s the purpose of the conference,” Rev. Jones-Ross said. As women, “We need to learn how to renew our minds and get our thought process up to where they need to be. If you change your mind, you change your life.”
For more information about Greater Hope Restoration Ministries or to register for the conference, call 216-200-6347.