Southeast Missouri State University student publication

The Local Pastor that does it all

Monday, March 25, 2019
St James Pastor, and former Democratic candidate for state senate, Renita Marie Green
Submitted photo

Intense, crazy, passionate, loud, energetic, creative, hard, firm, direct.

These are the words St James Pastor, and former Democratic candidate for state senate, Renita Marie Green said people around her would likely use.

“I hope to be firm and fair, and gracious and grateful,” Green said.

Green, a 48-year-old mother of two, is a leader of “The People's Shelter." She is known for driving around Cape Girardeau in search of the homeless on cold winter nights.

“Is it dangerous to drive around and ask people to get in my car? Yes, but is leaving them out there even more dangerous? Yes, there's a potential danger if they get in my car, there's a certain danger if they don't,” Green said.

Around the same time in 2017 that Green was making headway on opening up the shelter, she was approached with another life-changing opportunity.

Asked to consider running, for state representative of Missouri’s 147th District on the Democratic ticket by the chairman of the party, she was at first hesitant. Green said she spent time in prayer, and with family before attending a panel discussion of local politicians that ultimately made her decide to run.

“I have a voice and I have a voice that's larger than my own. And I see people and I hear people and I can work, and I can bring their voice,” Green said.

After the panel, Green approached the Republican incumbent for the seat, Kathy Swann.

“She was like, ‘Oh you’re the little pastor?’ I was like ‘Yeah, and I’m running for Senate,’” Green said.

Green’s For the People campaign to win a blue seat in a mostly red area ultimately fell short, but she is still proud of the race her campaign ran.

“We were in the winning margin, we lost by only 2,000 votes… .I still feel really good about it. We generated a whole base of people that didn’t really feel empowered,” Green said.

Green grew up in Kansas City, Kansas in the ‘70s and ‘80s. She attended JC Harmon High School, and received dual credit for college courses in multiple areas. However, she got pregnant in high school with her oldest daughter and had her just a month before graduating.

She said her high school guidance counselor painted a bleak picture for her future.

“She said I ruined my life and that all I needed to do is focus on raising this child,” Green said. “At this point, I gave up my dream of being a kindergarten teacher.”

Green went on to become a teacher’s assistant at a preschool while taking night classes at a community college and raising her two children. Soon after, Green started her own home daycare program. She credits this experience to what would lay the foundation early in her life for opening the “People’s Shelter,” in 2017.

Green has been in the ministry since 2017. She spent many years in the St. Louis and Wentzville area, before being transferred to St. James in 2015.

For now, Green is still a proud mother of two, grandmother of one, pastor of her church, and doing everything in her power to help the homeless community in Cape Girardeau.

“I am nothing, everything in my life has happened because somebody has contributed to it, and I’m very grateful for that,” Green said. “I would hope that people would say that about me that, they would know how extremely grateful I am.”