Saturday October 22nd, 2016 9:34AM

Gainesville travelers among those finding shelter at Canton church

By B.J. Williams News Director
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CANTON - In the middle of all the bad stories about people spending the night in their cars after Tuesday's earlier-than-expected snow storm, we're hearing good stories of folks who have opened their doors to those who were left out in the cold.

The members of Revolution Church on Highway 20 between Canton and Cumming played host to almost 200 motorists who became stranded on the icy roadway near their church.

Among those stranded passengers, Gainesville resident Jean Sawyer and four of her friends who had traveled to the Atlanta area for a garden club lecture. As they tried to return home, they found themselves stuck on the icy portion of Highway 20 between Canton and Cumming.

When residents in the area saw the mess, they posted some photos to Facebook; members of the church saw the photos and took action, asking their pastor to open the church doors.

Pastor Chad Elliott said he was happy to comply. He said some people just started leaving their cars and coming to the church - others they had to retrieve.

"We started sending people on ATVs up and down Highway 20 just to let them know that they could get off the road for the night," said Elliott.

Church members and neighbors in the area brought food and blankets to the church to share with the folks who got stuck, according to Elliott.

He said people were grateful.

"We had one guy walk in...he'd been in his car for, I think, almost nine hours," said Elliott. "He walked in and just started crying."

Elliott said that even though Highway 20 and the surrounding roads were improving, they were still icy enough to impede travel, so the church was planning to stay open Thursday night, as well.

"That's what we're here for," said Elliott. "If we're not able to do this, then I don't believe we're the church. Just the chance to be able to open up our doors to our community and to anybody who needs a place to shelter for the night...that's what it means to be a church."

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