SAN ANTONIO – Like the man whose face adorns the outside wall of her East Side church, Rosa L. Wilson had a dream.
Hers included turning Greater Faith Institutional Church, housed in a tiny building that once was a night club, into a beacon of hope for the surrounding community.
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“I promised my late-husband that this land would always be for the people,” she said, referring to the plot of land along Martin Luther King Drive on which the church sits. “The hope is here and it will never die.”
After the death of her husband in 2010, Wilson was left to oversee the church where she now serves as bishop and chief-apostle.
In 2012, she worked with local artist David Blancas and numerous sponsors to have a mural, showing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressing a crowd, painted on the front wall of the building.
Honoring the slain civil rights leader had been something she and her husband always strived to do.
During the early days of San Antonio’s MLK day march, the couple had been instrumental in coordinating some of its related events.
“The first pre-march celebration, Dr. Martin Luther King pre-march celebration, was held on our property,” Wilson said.
While that part of the city’s annual celebration has since moved across the street to the parking lot of Martin Luther King Junior Academy, the church and its mural still play a prominent role in the festivities.
It serves as the unofficial starting point for the roughly three-mile-long march that draws hundreds of thousands of participants each year.
Wilson says people often use the mural as a backdrop for “selfies” on the MLK holiday and beyond.
“I have had people come from around the world,” she said. “I show up (and they say), “Well, we saw this mural and we just want to come and take pictures.”
What Wilson pictures is being able to offer people much more than a place to make photographic memories, but one where they can begin building dreams.
Her congregation participates in several ministries aimed at helping those in the community around them.
One example is the recent back-to-school drive they held where they offered free school supplies to children.