Pastor Daryl McCready and his faithful congregation at SonRise Church are making a difference in our community
Occasionally in life you are “called” to do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. When Daryl McCready received that call, he thought for sure it had been a wrong number.
After more than 14 years with Ocean Pines Police Department, becoming a pastor and starting a church seemed a long shot at best. But Daryl and his wife, Tracy, stepped out on faith (pun intended) and began what is now SonRise Church in 2002. These days, Daryl is best known as the popular Pastor D, though a more reluctant recipient of attention would be hard to find. But attention is exactly what SonRise is getting. With over 500 in attendance through three services each Sunday, he and his associate pastors are reaching a lot of lives — and making a difference in them.
They are centrally involved in many of the most pro-active and conscientious faith-based charitable organizations in the area, including the Sharing the Harvest ministry, which is the biggest provider of free food in Worcester County; the Backpack ministry, which provides over 60 children with breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner each weekend; the Block Party ministry, which supplies, free of charge, inflatable play environments, snow cones, popcorn, hot dogs and hamburgers at over 15 community and school events annually. There’s also Celebrate Recovery and Kingdom Kids, in addition to various other missions programs (one of which actually constructed a church in the Galapagos Islands last year). Have you ever seen that $1 car wash where the stunned drivers are given $1 and a Bible when their cars are finished? That’s SonRise, too.
After 10 years of this kind of dedicated community service, people are really starting to notice — and some important people at that. SonRise is a 2012 recipient of the Governor’s Service Award, which, from 180 nominations handed out each year, selects only 15 for awards. SonRise was the only church this year to receive the honor.
Also this year, the Maryland Coast Dispatch called to bestow the Charitable Souls award to Daryl, but he declined to be named individually, asking instead that the church be named. But during the ceremony, one trophy was awarded to SonRise and another to Daryl. “They snuck that one in on me,” was the humble pastor’s only response.
Finally, the Worcester County Board of Education granted SonRise an award for its contribution to the youth of Worcester County in 2012.
But when you ask Pastor D what excites him the most, he says, “The coolest thing is that we have a good relationship with the town of Berlin, the police department, the schools, etc. They’ll call when they need something, and we try to respond.”
Now a far cry from their modest 15-member beginning in 2002, SonRise has emerged a positive force in our community, reaching more and more people every day.
Editor’s Note: Leslie Gebhart is an Independent Sales Associate with Coastal Style Magazine and a member of Sonrise Church.
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