JEMISON, Ala., Aug. 13 (UPI) -- An Alabama congregation has turned the "small 'Grand Canyon'" behind their church into an unusual ministry: a gun range.
Phillip Guin, pastor of the Rocky Mount United Methodist Church in Jemison, said the Rocky Mount Hunt and Gun Club behind the church started out as a gully filled with kudzu, snakes and other pests.
"We have had this large hole in the back of our property at the church for quite some time, and we thought it would be neat to start a gun range," Guin told the Clanton Advertiser newspaper. "The hole was primarily filled with kudzu, and had been used at one time to get fill dirt for the new facility that was built on the end of our church building."
He said the range was originally used as a facility to teach gun safety to church members.
"We had quite a number of church members, some elderly ladies, for example, and some not so elderly women that had purchased guns, but didn't know how to use them," Guin told WIAT-TV.
He said the safety classes evolved into a ministry, the Rocky Mount Hunt and Gun Club.
"This is an opportunity for us to reach out in the name of Jesus Christ in a setting that is completely unique. Even odd by some people's standards. But who's to say that church can't happen right here," Guin said.
Guin said the group is looking to offer safety classes to the public in the future.
"Really, the whole purpose of this range is to provide recreational and gun safety in a warm, loving, Christian environment," Guin said. "We wanted to come up with some different ideas to help our church grow, and we thought this would be a unique ministry to offer to the community."
"Right now, we are just really happy with how everything turned out," Guin said. "We found a use for the small 'Grand Canyon' behind our church, and turned it into something that is pretty cool."