Bible study in a sweet way
Triple-digit afternoons in Fremont Park may not sound like the easiest way to beat the heat, but that’s never kept pastor Calvin Little from his self-appointed rounds. The 40-year-old Sacramentan holds his “Bible Study in a Sweet Way” ministry—complete with food and sermon—every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. for a growing congregation of homeless people and state workers. When not preaching, Little works his day job as a janitor for a state agency and puts the finishing touches on a gospel album he plans to release in December.
How did you become a minister?
Well, my church is pastor [A.K.] Thrower’s Spirit and Truth [Ministries] out at 2230 Arden Way, and I got ordained as a minister. When I was young, actually, I was involved in drugs and gangs in the Oak Park area, and I ended up going to prison. And I gave my life to God, and I went to seminary school. And when I got out, I promised the Lord I would serve him, I would love people and make a difference in people’s life. My motto is: If you’re not doing something to make someone else’s life better, as far as I’m concerned, you’re not really doing too much.
So, “Bible Study in a Sweet Way” is to deal with the prostitutes and the homeless people, and we’ve been very effective, too. A lot of those same homeless people now work inside the ministry. It started out with the homeless, and we fed them afterward. But now, many of the state workers come. It’s called “Bible Study in a Sweet Way” because I think we should treat people with love and be sweet and kind.
As opposed to “Bible Study in a Hellfire and Damnation Way"?
Well, I don’t think all that’s needed. I never seen Jesus doing any of that. And my mode of worship is nondenominational. Matter of fact, I don’t too much like religions because they separate people and cause a lot of confusion. So, it’s a ministry that operates purely out of love. We don’t beat people over the head. We’re not really judgmental because everyone has faults; no one’s perfect. So, we just operate in love, and we meet in fellowship and eat together and share the word. And I tell you, those people love me, and I love them.
Why did you choose Fremont Park?
I live at 14th and T, so Fremont Park is the park that I was spiritually directed to. A couple years ago—remember when there was a little baby that was hit there? And God says, “You know, this is where I want it.” And since we been there, we talk with the people down at [the Department of] Parks and Recreation, and the bathrooms are back open; they’re clean. They just got through remodeling the bathrooms. The drugs in that area have just dissipated. Even the gangbangers in the area give us respect. When they see us coming, they make sure our table is clean. They even go get our juices. So, we’re changing the whole area slowly but surely.
You mentioned your own drug and gang situations?
Well, yeah, I used to be in gangs and stuff, the Bloods.
Does that have anything to do with those scars on your neck?
Yeah, I did get shot, and I was pronounced dead for two minutes. The doctors said it was a miracle. God had a plan for my life even back then, I was like 18.
So, you were shot in the—
I was shot in the chest with a shotgun. And when a shotgun hits you, it explodes, and so that’s how I got these.
How did you end up on the wrong end of a shotgun?
Well, my cousin, who was a big-time drug dealer—he got into it with like three or four guys, and I just happened to come over to his house. I wasn’t involved in the fight, but I went to his house, and they did a drive-by shooting, and I’m the only one who got shot. I was pronounced dead. But, by the grace of God, I’m here.
Yeah, and I’m just trying to make a difference here in Sacramento. … You know, it’s a blessing to help somebody. If you’re going through something, I’ll tell you, the quickest way to get over it is to find somebody that’s less fortunate that you can help. It will make you feel better, make your soul feel better.
Do you ever get sad working with people who seem to have few options?
Well, at night, I cry a lot because you see some people are hurting, and people don’t understand them. Some people are so judgmental toward them. … A lot of people are so fortunate and so blessed, and then to turn your nose up at somebody, that’s not a wise thing to do. Because we all need help in some areas. So, the first thing we need to do is to stop looking down on them and realize that there’s a lot of people just two paychecks from being homeless ourselves.