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Broken heart leads to ministry for children

October 16, 2000

Broken heart leads to ministry for children



By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY / Staff Writer


When Bill Wiles saw need crossing the street, he followed.

The founder of a children's ministry in Frederick, Md., was driving through downtown Hagerstown on a late April night when three young children darted across the road, he said.

The children held onto each other in the absence of adult supervision.

"It just broke my heart," said Wiles, 30.

"That's who we really need to reach out to - them kids."

With the help of four other young people, Wiles and his wife, Teresa, founded City Quake Ministries in the former One Stop Pizza building on Salem Avenue in Hagerstown.

The church's name is derived from a biblical story in which the joyous singing of the imprisoned apostle Paul and his friend, Silas, triggers an earthquake from God, Wiles said.

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"And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's bands were loosed." (Acts 16:26)

The goal of City Quake Ministries is also "to break the chains that are binding people," Wiles said.

"I don't want people to know religion. I want people to experience truth in not a doctrine but in a relationship with Jesus Christ," he said.

"I want to touch the untouchables - the drug addicts, prostitutes, homosexuals. The people hurt in other churches. I want black people and white people and Chinese people and all races to come and worship together."

And the Wileses want to help the children.

Thus, the old bread truck with the fresh coat of bright red paint. The truck rests in the church parking lot, waiting for the warm weather that signals sidewalk Sunday school.

In the summer months, upbeat Christian music will blare from the truck's speakers as Bill and Teresa Wiles maneuver it through Hagerstown's low-income communities. They hope children will gather on tarps laid beside the truck to play games, sing songs and learn biblical lessons during the weekly Kids Quake Ministry stops, Wiles said.

A similar children's ministry started by the Wileses in Frederick five years ago has been a great success, and the couple has high hopes for their Hagerstown mission.

Bill Wiles said he had an "ideal childhood," and he wants to reach children who face obstacles they might feel are too great to overcome alone.

"We've seen a lot of hurting kids. Kids without much hope," said Wiles, who served as a youth pastor during and after earning ministerial licenses through the Church of God and Without Walls International Church in Florida.

"I want to make a difference in people's lives."

Wiles said he never expected to do it in Washington County.

He graduated from Smithsburg High School in 1988, got married, moved to Frederick County, and settled into a satisfying life.

The Wileses and another couple founded an independent Pentecostal church. Bill and Teresa Wiles then started their "sidewalk ministry" for kids in the John Hanson low-income housing complex in Frederick.

When he saw the three children crossing the Hagerstown street, Wiles said he felt God calling him back home.

"It has to be God putting it on my heart," he said. "Either that or I'm a total idiot."

Wiles devotes time to his wife and their two small children. He works full-time in the heating and air-conditioning business. He's been commuting to Hagerstown daily from his Mt. Airy, Md., home, and using his own money, to help renovate the Salem Avenue building for worship services.

The Wileses plan to relocate to Hagerstown.

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