A Socastee church is being criticized for helping viral homeless man


(Courtesy: Rushing Wind Ministries Church/WPDE)

James Owen, the homeless man at the center of a viral video showing a Myrtle Beach Police officer asking him to leave the property of a McDonald’s after a man bought him food, has found a new temporary home at the Rushing Wind Ministries Church.

The Church received a lot of backlash on social media as result. Many people said in those posts that the church is using him for publicity and fame in the name of God.

So, when ABC 15 was interviewing them about helping him, we asked their thoughts on the posts.

“There’s a drug epidemic here, whatever we can do to help people that’s what we want to do. Its not for our fame and fortune, we want people to see Jesus,” Kathy Canup said

The Socastee church has headed up their homeless ministry for the last three years. They don’t have to go out looking for the homeless; the homeless come to them.

But when they posted images of Owens in their care on Facebook, their mission went viral, and many said it was all for the wrong reasons.

“When I posted this on Facebook, it wasn’t about us. I didn’t hit share, I didn’t tell no one to share, I didn’t tell no one to like it. I addressed the church,” said Canup.

Members of the church donate food and clothes to support the ministry, not just for Owens, and the Canups said posting about it was all in an effort to show the church, the fruits of their labor.

Pastor Chuck Canup said, “we just reach out to the ones that want to help themselves.”

Owens has a laundry list of charges on his record including assault and stabbing, so we asked why would the folks at Rushing Wind open their doors to a known criminal, putting the safety of their staff and church members at risk?

Canup said, “most homeless people have a criminal record, because when it’s cold they’d rather be in a secure warm place to where they have security and warm food.”

Owens said at 74 years old he just wants to get back on his feet and live his best days yet.

“I got a place to sleep rest and see I’m not using the church for what they can do for me because if they tell me to walk out this door, I will,” said Owens.

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