Video: Church Offers Access In A “Food Desert”

A church in Sacramento, California found that its low-income neighbors struggled to eat healthy because they lived in a “food desert.” How do you buy fresh produce when the nearest grocery store is three or four miles away and you don’t own a car?  Unity Church answered the need by opening a farmer’s market.  An […]

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Video: Faith-based Bakery for Former Gang Members

Father Greg Boyle founded a bakery in one of L.A.’s poorest neighborhoods because he wanted to help former gang members start a new life. He saw promise in an abandoned bakery across the street from the parish he served. That was nearly 30 years ago. Now Homeboy Industries employs 250 former gang members, one of […]

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26 OCTOBER 2017

Lighthouse Church: A Place of Belonging for Inmates

Northern Lighthouse Church did not set out to start a prison ministry. It happened when Sam and Karen Keyzer moved their family to Lincoln, Nebraska in 1997 to plant a new church. With seventeen years pastoral experience in the Christian Reformed Church, Sam had been trained in church planting and understood its methods. Yet despite this, […]

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20 OCTOBER 2017

Driving Children to See Mothers In Prison

St. Anne’s Catholic Community, thirty-two miles northwest of Chicago, became involved in a program for mothers in prison to have an opportunity to visit with their children. Sponsored by the Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, the “Visits to Mom” program provides free transportation to children whose mothers are incarcerated. For volunteers from St. Anne’s, this […]

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14 OCTOBER 2017

Developing Leaders Among Ex-Prisoners

At the 11:45 service, the first 3-4 rows are reserved for “Jake’s Men,” as other members of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church call them. Bethel AME, a prominent Gothic-style white stone building in Druid Heights, serves as a beacon for one of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods. Many of “Jake’s Men” have just been released from prison, […]

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At This Food Pantry, It’s About Customer Service

Customer service plays an indispensable role at the Westside Campaign Against Hunger, the largest food pantry in Manhattan.  Located in the basement of the St. Paul and St. Andrew United Methodist Church, this pantry tells its customers, “Come again, please.”  That’s what Stewart Desmond, Executive Director, told me when I interviewed him for a film documentary […]

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30 AUGUST 2017

Do Congregations Set Up Barriers To Entry?

Do congregations unwittingly set up “Keep Out” signs to entry? A simple fact: a majority of congregations in the U.S. do not look demographically like their neighborhoods. Sadly, in terms of makeup and self-identity, who they are and how they identify themselves, most congregations do not reflect the neighborhood where they are located. It’s not […]

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