Church Under the Bridge

updated 06/29/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/29/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
The Church Under the Bridge started in 1992 as a Bible study group after Pastor Jimmy Dorrell, 59 (center, June 14), and his wife, Janet, 52, befriended men living there. Today many of the 300 members—most of them homeless—rely on the recovery groups and hot meals the church provides.

OUTREACH TO ALL
Before service Dorrell talks to a regular, Sam Williams, about social services and where he can collect more cans. "We're going to love them in spite of themselves," says Dorrell. "We're not going to give up on them."

PRAISING THE LORD
Marvin Holcomb, 49 (far right, with his wife, Evan, 30), has stage-four lung cancer but draws strength from the church. "You can feel God's presence here," he says. "I couldn't hack it without my Sundays."

WARM WELCOME
Olin Anderson, a former photographer who is homeless, sometimes portrays Jesus in the Easter service. "Most of these people you'd never find in a regular church," says another member, Michael Deleon, a handyman. "There's beauty here."

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