The mission statement is “creating community through the love of Jesus Christ.” The Love Bus became an official non-profit organization Feb. 14.
“It’s using everyone’s gifts to come together and pour into the community so we can grow in our love for Christ,” said Cox, who lives in Milan.
A goal is for different churches to join the Love Bus ministry for the purpose of community-oriented activities. Members of The Foundation Church in Norwalk have participated in some of the events with Cox and her family.
Currently the ministry focuses on the communities at Bouscay Avenue and North West Street.
“We believe you can spread yourself too thin and I want to pour everything we have into these two communities,” Cox said.
“Our very first (event) we did was on Good Friday to symbolize the greatest act of love ever,” she added. “We stuffed hundreds of Easter eggs with little goodies and we went door to door.”
The next Love Bus event was called Breakfast in Blessings. The group again went door to door, delivering a bag of muffins with a Scripture verse or prayer and the Love Bus card attached to each one.
“I baked hundreds and hundreds of muffins and also got donations and bought some muffins from Aldi and different places,” Cox said. “The really cool thing was after each one, I actually did get feedback and it usually was just one person who would say, ‘Thank you so much. That was such a blessing.’
“But it was still beautiful. To me, that was God saying, ‘Yes, you’re on the right path. Continue.’”
On Mother’s Day, The Love Bus coordinated an event called Making Memories for Mamas. The group distributed flowers and packets of brewed coffee so children could give them to their moms.
The Father’s Day event was Dad’s Donuts and Devotionals.
“I got Dunkin’ Donuts to donate four dozen donuts for that,” Cox said.
The Love Bus origin is tied to when Cox said she was “churched out,” frustrated with religion and “washed out.”
“It was a dying church. There were maybe 20-ish active members. We had sold our building and in the process of that sale, w(e) had gotten about a million bucks in the account,” said Cox, who was a member of various church boards.
“I was trying to convince them, ‘Let’s do some tremendous good for our community with this money’ and instead, they thought they should be focusing on spending the money on building the church from the inside,” she added.
One of the ideas Cox had was using the money to buy houses to donate to people in need.
“None of us earned that money; it was God-given,” she said. “It didn’t work and I became very bitter about it and God reminded me that I’m the church. He said, ‘Stop trying to get people to do what I’ve equipped you to do.’”
As Cox was doing a Bible study on the book of Acts with a friend, she said she was reminded that Jesus’ disciples “were going out” to talk to people, “breaking bread together” and spreading the good news as they formed the first church.
“There was a real sense of community and that’s where the idea of The Love Bus was really laid out,” she said.
Before each event, Cox said she and her group “flyer the community” at each tenant’s door so residents will know when and where it was going happen.
“We want it to be all-inclusive; we want to partner as many churches as we possibly can,” she said.
When that happens, the hope is that the community also will get involved in the lives of churches.
“The community doesn’t see the church. I think they see the church as a place you go on Sunday,” Cox said. “Most of the people I see who do Love Bus events say they believe in God, but don’t go to church.”
If you want to join the Love Bus ministry or make a donation, call Marlane Cox at 443-223-7190, email [email protected] or go to thelovebusfoundation.org. There also is a Facebook page, “The Love Bus.”