Open house

February 23rd, 2016

When we feel threatened, a frequent reaction is to draw inside ourselves and close off from one another. That’s why it was shocking to learn about a church who actually left its facility open and available to those in need. At the turn of the new year, New Life Covenant Church in Humboldt Park, near Chicago, decided to do something different to ring in 2016. For the first three weeks of the new year, they left their doors unlocked and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering unique opportunities to the community.

“The idea is really on the heels of all this violence that’s happening in Chicago,” pastor Wilfredo De Jesús said. During the “Safety in the Sanctuary” initiative, the church hosted community gatherings, offered help with homework, served meals (provided by local restaurants or church members), hosted movie nights, and provided family-focused resources. The church also initiated a police roll call inside the church for officers starting their shifts. Pastor De Jesús emphasized, “We must be leading the way in the community and serve as a bridge.”

Not just for some

New Life Covenant Church embodied an openness to those in need that not many of us have experienced nor observed previously. The open-door experiment was an invitation for the employed and the jobless, for single moms as well as entire families, for those housed and for those living on the streets. The church welcomed those in power and those who felt powerless. Instead of targeting one group, they were willing to step up and serve as a uniting force between numerous people groups needing to come together and find common ground, find peace and, once again, become a whole community.

Often times we say we want to help, but we don’t know how. Or, we don’t actually take the time to find out and follow through. Yet, this church, by being open (both literally and spiritually) allowed God’s Spirit to draw together these diverse groups and to be the start of something special for an entire city.

Question of the day: How can we become an open house for peace?
Focal Scriptures: John 2:13-22; Luke 19:1-10; Acts 16:16-34

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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