(L-R:) Isiiah Leggett, Former Montgomery County Executive; Senator Chris Van Hollen;Matthew Watley, Pastor Kingdom Fellowship; Kendra Smith; Senator Ben Cardin; Councilmember Will Jawando; Prince Georges County Chair Calvin Hawkins (Photo credit: Danni Grayson)

By Deborah Bailey,
AFRO D.C. News Editor

“Thy kingdom come” is a familiar phrase that will soon take on a whole new meaning in the upper northwest corner of Prince George’s County.   

Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Prince Georges and Montgomery County elected officials recently joined Kingdom Fellowship Pastor Matthew Watley and board members of the Kingdom Global Community Development Corporation for a groundbreaking ceremony. The celebration was in honor of the commencement of development of the new Kingdom Care Center in Calverton, M.d., scheduled to open in December 2022. 

The new center features a tri-county approach to serving human needs according to Watley, moving beyond the man-made borders of counties and cities to serve needs “where the people are.” 

 The center is located just blocks from the Montgomery County-Prince George’s County border and is less than 10 minutes from the western border of Howard County.   

“We are so excited to break the ground on this new project that will allow us to provide wrap-around services to residents of the Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Howard County region,” Watley said, greeting the crowd gathered in front of the new six-floor tower located beside Kingdom Fellowship Church’s new location on Beltsville Drive. 

The Kingdom Care Center is funded through a $2 million Federal Appropriation shepherded by Senators Van Hollen and Cardin, and $11 million allocated for the wrap-around service center passed by the Maryland General Assembly in keeping with Governor Larry Hogan’s FY 2023 budget.  

“The beauty of this vision and the power of this vision is simple. We don’t live our lives in silos.  We don’t live our lives compartmentalized. The idea behind the Kingdom Care Center is that we provide a holistic approach to the needs of individuals and families,” Van Hollen said. 

The Kingdom Care Center will serve as a “one stop shop” meeting human service needs of citizens across the tri-county communities where Prince Georges, Montgomery and Howard County meet. The Center will offer employment and vocational services, a health and wellness center, clothing, a food center, educational services and supports, housing services and a legal aid center. 

Senator Ben Cardin affirmed the Kingdom Fellowship family for stepping forward to serve both spiritual and physical needs in the tri-county area. 

“There are many elected officials and government officials here because we’re proud of our partnership,” Cardin said. 

“That’s why this groundbreaking is so critically important. These are desperately needed services for the community that we can’t provide at the government level. Only working with you, can we reach people who really need these services. I am so proud to represent you in the United States Senate,” Cardin concluded. 

Former Montgomery County Executive Isaiah “Ike” Leggett, one of the supporters of the Kingdom Care Center effort, simply “made it plain” saying too many factors and participants had to synchronize efforts for the Kingdom Care Center’s groundbreaking to be solely the result of human effort.  

“But for God,” Leggett marveled.   

“All the things that came together to make this happen. But for the grace of God this would not have happened,” Leggett proclaimed as the audience nodded in affirmation.  

Kingdom Fellowship Chief of Staff Sundra Mann said the momentum for finding a place to serve the community came from the experiences church volunteers had while serving during the Pandemic.   

“We just started doing food giveaways in the early days of the Pandemic (Covid-19 Pandemic) at both our Montgomery County locations and here in Prince Georges County,” Mann said. 

“Once we saw the long lines of people waiting for food and the multiple needs besides food people presented, we started to ask ourselves, what more can we do to help lives where the Pandemic hurt?” she concluded.

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