A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, September 26, 2014
Being of Service? That’s Family Promise! (Feature Friday!)
I wondered what big thing was going on at my friend’s church, every few months. Then I asked. The answer? Family Promise!
My good friend, Pastor Joe McInnes, filled me in. His church—St. John’s Lutheran, in Wilmette—is one of the host congregations for Family Promise Chicago North Shore, which helps homeless and low-income families become financially, sustainably independent. (The formal name for this worthwhile activity at the church is Interfaith Hospitality Network.) This organization is nonsectarian and interfaith, and has an excellent track record at doing what Family Promise does best: mobilizing local community members to come alongside of homeless and low-income families, helping them get back on their feet.
Loss of a breadwinner’s job, an extended period of illness, a sudden accident or even death in the family. Any one of these can be devastating to an individual or a family going through some traumatic event, or even series of events. As someone who has worked as a chaplain for most of the past ten years, I can easily see how suddenly a reduction in standard of living can happen. Even overnight, in some cases. The Family Promise website says it best, in giving us a brief, thumbnail sketch of their activities:
“We recognize that poverty is a multifaceted problem that requires a multifaceted response. We respond by integrating educational outreach, smart programming, effective policies, and the hands-on work of thousands of volunteers. We provide food, shelter, and support services for homeless families. We provide advice and advocacy for at-risk families to prevent their becoming homeless. And we educate people about poverty and the means to combat it.”
Pastor Joe is enthusiastic about how many parishioners are involved in this worthwhile program at St. John’s Lutheran Church. As he mentioned, once every three months, St. John’s offers both meals and housing for up to fourteen people. And, that’s for up to one week. Plus, what about the wonderful volunteers who gather to offer food and hospitality! The excellent location of St. John’s Church, one block from the Metra train station in downtown Wilmette and along several bus lines, offers the clients and friends of Family Promise many options. It’s good to have options.
This is a wonderful way to be of service to others. To offer the gift of hospitality and generosity, and show the love of God to others in a very tangible, loving way. What an awesome way of being kind!
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