Volume 14, Number 21 | November 16, 2020 | www.citygatenetwork.org  


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This issue of Street Smart is sponsored by:

 

 

 

Help Us Run Through the Tape
The number of organizations that are members of Citygate Network is a moving target. A couple come in, one goes out. One that’s been out for a while comes back in. And so it goes. When we reached out to all of the missions and kindred ministries in our database back in April (regarding COVID-19), a total of 340 responded; but the number that were up-to-date on their dues was significantly less than that.

Back in 2009, the official number of paid member organizations was 203. That number has continued on an upward course. Right now, we are at the highest level ever (or at least in modern times). As of today, the official count is 299 organizations—up from 269 on December 31 of last year. That means we need just one more to hit that elusive 300 mark. Will you help us find that one to reach a new milestone?

Is there a compatible life-transformation ministry in your area that would qualify? Do they agree with our statement of faith and code of ethics and do they align with our values, including our position on biblical sexuality? Let Sam Edwards know about them. Or maybe you could recruit them—perhaps even pay their first year of membership. We have a nice gift certificate waiting for the member organization that helps us reach 300 missions/ministries—the highest in our history (to the best of our knowledge).

 

Election Results Will Likely Erase Gains by Faith Organizations
If the U.S. election projection stands, we will see most, if not all, of the Trump-administration appointees who have been faith-organization advocates replaced. Citygate Network will need to build relationships with new appointees in the various agencies that have jurisdiction or influence over matters of poverty, addiction, hunger, homelessness, housings, and the like. The recently released U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) document, Expanding the Toolbox, will likely be set aside as a more Housing First-focused agenda could be readopted. This was recently confirmed by the presumed president-elect. (Although, Expanding the Toolbox is getting a lot of attention on local levels and will be hard to summarily dismiss.) This is not an unfamiliar task for Citygate Network as it has happened numerous times in the past, from one administration to another and with changes in appointees. As far as major policies affecting religious organizations, the still-to-be-held Georgia Senate runoffs will likely determine what path the country will go down as it relates to issues of human rights versus matters of faith and religion. Citygate Network will remain fully engaged in government relations and keep members posted to new developments through our Legislative Alert email newsletter.

 

Our Own Elections are Not Being Contested
After holding district elections for Bluegrass, Deep South, and Great Lakes, we are pleased to announce the new officers moving into these leadership roles:

  • The Bluegrass District will be led by President Ryan Duerk, Miracle Hill Ministries (Greenville, North Carolina) and Vice-President Brandan Thomas, Winchester Rescue Mission (Winchester, Virginia). Vicki Murray, Safe Harbor (Hickory, North Carolina) will serve as the Bluegrass Board Representative for 2021—2023.
  • Deep South will be led by President Buddy Morrow, CITA (Melbourne, Florida) and Vice-President Devin Simmons, Waterfront Rescue Mission (Pensacola, Florida). Vann Ellison, St. Matthew’s House, (Naples, Florida) will serve as the Deep South Board Representative for 2021—2023.
  • Great Lakes will be led by President Sandi Perzee, MorningStar Mission (Joliet, Illinois) and Vice-President Sherry Pitney, Rockford Rescue Mission (Rockford, Illinois). Donovan Coley, The Rescue Mission (Fort Wayne, Indiana) will serve as the Great Lakes Board Representative for 2021—2023.

The General Election for an At-Large Representative to the Citygate Network Board confirmed Anthony McMinn, Hendersonville Rescue Mission (Hendersonville, North Carolina), to serve in that capacity from 2021—2023.

Citygate Network sends a a huge heartfelt thanks to all of the outgoing district and board officers. We sincerely appreciate your service to the association.

 

Early-Bird Registration for Baltimore Starts Tomorrow
We’re moving forward in faith that Citygate Network’s 2021 Annual Conference and Exposition in Baltimore, June 2 – 5, will go off as scheduled. With a vaccine on the horizon and the event still half-a-year away (in a warm-weather month), we’re planning for our usual, all-encompassing annual gathering.

Even so, because we know that 2020 has made so many of us extra wary, we’re offering members a no-risk early-bird sign up. Register yourself and your team members while this lowest rate is available—November 17 – December 17—and everything is refundable through the end of February. The early-bird brochure is available on our website.

 

Monthly Public Reading of Scripture Now Open to All Citygate Network Members
On the fourth Tuesday of every month, Citygate Network has been partnering with the Grace & Mercy Foundation to offer Public Reading of Scripture (PRS). Tune in to hear purposefully chosen portions of Scripture read aloud, accompanied by appropriate sound effects and music. The words will be on the screen in the New King James Version, but you can follow along in your favorite translation or paraphrase. There is 20 minutes of just scripture and an equal amount of time for informal discussion. If you have not experienced this powerful, focused way to start your day, you need to check it out. Citygate Network is committed to it. Our next PRS is on Tuesday, November 24th.

You need to register ahead of time to get the link and a reminder.

Register for the 8:00 AM Eastern Time / 7:00 AM Central Time (November 24th)
Register for the 8:00 AM Mountain Time / 7:00 AM Pacific Time (November 24th)

This Thanksgiving Needs to Look a Little Different
As you probably read in last week’s COVID-19 Dispatch, North America (and most of the world) has seen a rise in the number of cases over the last several weeks. Although the homeless community has not seen the same increase, that’s mostly a function of how well our members have worked to adhere to the six basic protocols the CDC, USICH, and Citygate Network have consistently promoted since last spring. Nevertheless, your Thanksgiving events should look different than they usually do. We encourage you to get creative. For example, some members have orchestrated drive-through food box giveaways or radiothons that still benefit and minister to the communities they serve without risking a super spreader event. Let us know if you’ve come up with something unusual to celebrate gratitude during a year that hasn’t necessarily inspired us to feel particularly thankful.

 

Regional Huddle Held in the Evergreen District
About 30 staff members from five member organizations in Montana and Idaho got together (safely) last week in Butte, Montana, to rejoice in what God is doing in their ministries and to rejuvenate their spirits. All of the CEOs are relatively new, having been on the job from four to 16 months. Citygate Network President John Ashmen attended a portion of the program to encourage the attendees. John taught at the event and led a CEO think tank.

 

ATC Announces New Online Resource for Dealing with Addiction
Citygate Network partner Adult & Teen Challenge (ATC) has just released a brand-new online resource specifically for those with family and friends suffering from addiction. In Understanding Addiction in the Family Context, licensed clinical and consulting psychologist, author, and international speaker Dr. Jared Pingleton answers the most common questions families face and suggests ways they can help. Learn more about this 3-hour program and how to register here.

 

Free Webinar Exploring Faith and Forgiveness in Mental Illness Recovery
The Partnership Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives (a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) continues their webinar series on mental health with Spirituality and Relationships: Contributions to Faith and Forgiveness in Mental Illness Recovery. Engaging faith and spirituality can have positive implications for those struggling with mental illness, as well as their loved ones, by enhancing the firm commitment of family, acceptance by family and community, and the possibility for a spiritual process to achieve family renewal. This fifth session in a six-part series will discuss the research and its implications for treatment and recovery of individuals with mental illness and their loved ones. Register here for this free webinar on Thursday, November 19, at 12:00 p.m. ET.

 

Looking Down the Street

  • We welcome two new members into the Great Lakes District this month: The Guest House (New Castle, Indiana) is a men’s shelter and thrift store led by Director Mark Joplin. Michael Thompson runs Greater Hayward House of Hope (Hayward, Wisconsin) offering temporary housing, education, vocational assistance, and mental health and addiction programming.  
  • The board at Winston-Salem Rescue Mission (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) has just announced that Lou Carrico will become the permanent Executive Director, effective immediately. He has served as Interim Director since June 2019. Send him a congratulatory email.
  • Mel Trotter Ministries (Grand Rapids, Michigan) unveiled a mobile shower last week. The three-stall unit will rotate around strategic locations throughout the city to provide hot showers for those experiencing homelessness and living in encampments.
  • Hubble House is building a home slated for completion by the end of 2020. When it sells, all proceeds will go to charity. Boise Rescue Mission (Boise, Idaho) is one of the five nonprofits chosen to benefit from the sale.
  • Redwood Gospel Mission (Santa Rosa, California) has come up with a creative way to offer more than a meal this Thanksgiving. In addition to distributing food packages to ± 800 drive-through vehicles, the mission will offer “soul food” by broadcasting the gospel message via FM transmitters that participants can tune in to as they wait in line in their cars.
  • Jeremy Trebas, Controller at Great Falls Rescue Mission (Great Falls, Montana) just won election to the Montana House of Representatives where he will represent ± 10,000 citizens, including Malmstrom Air Force Base, one of three that oversees the nuclear missile defense system.
  • The Medford Police Department invited Medford Gospel Mission (Medford, Oregon) to participate in an outreach event to reach out to campers in a city park, connecting with them and providing information about available assistance. Half of them chose to accept immediate shelter, and others are considering the possibility.
  • Little Rock Compassion Center (Little Rock, Arkansas) just opened a new women and children’s center, replacing the cramped quarters they had been using. Located just across the street from their main facility, the new center will accommodate 50 women and children as they work to grow healthy in body and spirit.

TELL US: Do you have news to share with other network members? Send a blurb to Alice Gifford. Include as many details as possible. We’ll handle the editing.

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Proposed Law Pushes Back Against Mob Violence
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has introduced legislation that would allow ordinary citizens to stand up against “violent and disorderly assemblies.” Viewed as a radical expansion of the state’s Stand Your Ground law, The Miami Herald reports that the statute would permit violence against anyone involved in the “interruption or impairment” of a business located within 500 feet of “violent or disorderly assembly.” What’s more, the legislation would also make blocking traffic during a protest a third-degree felony and would seemingly grant immunity to any driver who accidently injures or kills a protester who is blocking auto passage. Also thrown in is a measure that would allow the state to withhold funds from cities that succumb to defunding the police pressures. While the intent is protection of one’s life and livelihood, critics see it as encouraging potentially lethal vigilante justice against individuals committing property damage or obstruction of traffic. How missions and similar ministries respond to out-of-hand unrest is a topic covered in the November/December issue of Citygate Network’s Instigate magazine.

 

Business Pivots to Provide Mobile COVID Testing
Like many business owners, Larry Borden shut down Aardvark Mobile Tours, at the beginning of the pandemic. The Philadelphia Citizen reports that the company trucks had functioned as mobile event spaces to bring brand awareness to companies like T-Mobile and Coca-Cola. Restrictions caused Borden to pivot, turning Aardvark Mobile Tours into Aardvark Mobile Health by outfitting the trucks for mobile COVID-19 testing. Since launching this summer, Aardvark has introduced units to Texas, Florida, New York, and Philadelphia. The trucks have heat and air, a generator for electricity, and labs where nurses can administer a test on one side and get results (15 minutes later) on another. Negative air pressure and partitions separate the nurses conducting the tests from the people receiving them to prevent infection. They conduct about 35 tests an hour, or 500 tests a day. With only a 15-minute pack-up time, vans can quickly travel to areas experiencing outbreaks and keep potentially ill people out of waiting rooms. Post-pandemic, when regular business resumes, Borden plans to continue Aardvark Mobile Health as a branch of the company. Several institutions have expressed interest in using the trucks for other health screenings and services, like HIV testing, flu shots, and distributing a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
Consider: The pandemic has forced many organizations to pivot. We encourage you to look for ways to minister and serve in non-traditional ways through the holiday season.

 

From Homelessness to the House of Representatives
In 2011, Kat Cammack’s family lost the cattle ranch she grew up on and was forced into eviction and pushed into homelessness for months. Later the same year, Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL) invited Cammack to join his campaign. She went on to serve as his campaign manager and became deputy chief of his staff for a long time. Cammack will represent the constituents of Florida’s 3rd Congressional District when she joins the 117th Congress as the youngest GOP woman in history. She feels it’s important to share American comeback stories like hers: “My story is not a Republican story. It’s not a Democrat story. It’s an American story,” she said. “At this point in time, in our divided nation, we need people that look at the problems and solutions as Americans. Not as one party vs. another.”
Consider: You never know how someone you minister to might be able to rise up and serve because of your investment in their life.

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SF Passes Legislation to Penalize Companies with Large Pay Inequities
In an effort to address the growing wage gap between CEOs and workers, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved the nation’s first tax aimed at combatting pay inequity, according to NBC News. The “Overpaid Executive Tax,” will charge any company that does business in San Francisco and has a top executive earning over 100 times more than the “typical local worker.” These companies must pay a 0.1 percent surcharge on their annual business taxes, increasing by 0.1 percent per factor of 100, with a maximum of 0.6 percent. San Francisco voters embraced this legislation due to the surge in CEO compensation. A study published by the Economic Policy Institute said that chief executive compensation rose 14 percent in 2019, with CEOs earning 320 times more than a typical worker. The latest ruling applies to both privately and publicly held companies, affecting large, local firms like Salesforce, as well as large corporations that do business in the city, like Visa and J.P. Morgan.

 

Addressing the Root Causes of Food Insecurity
Prior to the pandemic, 37 million Americans struggled with hunger. Feeding America estimates that as a result of the pandemic, that number could grow to 54 million. That’s almost one in six Americans, including 18 million children. Several groups have begun examining the structure and priorities of America’s food manufacturing, distribution, and assistance systems to try to prevent so many from becoming food insecure, rather than focusing only on the demand side of the hunger equation. Findings show that the country’s food policies, and federal and state laws and regulations for the manufacture and distribution of food are often antiquated, and actually contribute to hunger, food insecurity, and waste. The Denver Post printed an article encouraging donors to support organizations, from grassroots to national, that help small scale, local farmers enhance regional food distribution, address racial and economic inequalities, and work on policies that address the problems before people find themselves in a critical place.

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Taking Back the Streets in Downtown Vancouver
Some residents in the Downtown Eastside neighborhood of Vancouver have organized a community patrol and outreach program in an effort to make their neighbourhood safer and prevent some overdose deaths. They call themselves the Sweet Grass Clan, modeled on a similar effort in Winnipeg called the Bear Clan Patrol. In just five years, the Winnipeg volunteer patrol has grown to more than 1,000 volunteers working in small teams to circulate through the neighborhood, handing out food and warm clothing, providing a visible street presence in the city’s roughest neighbourhoods. The volunteers have a vested interest in the success of their efforts because they live in the area. The Vancouver group has only six volunteers to start, but they hope others will join them in providing more eyes and ears on the tough streets.

 

Mission Chef Job Training Program Pays it Forward
Ric Watson began working as a dishwasher as a teenager, battling addiction, and living on the street, when someone gave him a chance. Eventually, Watson became Chef and Director of Food Services at Ottawa Mission, and 16 years ago he started a food services training program in the mission’s kitchen to give others a similar opportunity to turn their lives around. Their first graduating class consisted of five men, but the program has grown to graduate 20-25 students every year, with 90 percent of them finding jobs in the food-service industry. Having outgrown their kitchen space at the mission, Watson and Ottawa Mission CEO Peter Tilley started looking for another location to run the program. Through various serendipitous connections, they were offered a $10 per year, seven-year lease at a beloved family bakery that had closed down after serving the downtown community for many years. The Ottawa Mission’s new food services training facility will offer three five-month training programs per year, accommodating 25 students per class. The renovation has begun with plans to open in May 2021. It will also feature a storefront, and serve breakfast and lunch specials, as well as prepared take-out meals.

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Black Girls Underserved in Conversations About Racial Justice
In philanthropy, academics, government, and the media, racial justice often takes a male-centered approach. A Ms. Foundation study released this summer found that grants for women and girls of color is roughly 0.5 percent of all U.S. foundation giving. This seems minuscule considering that there are 65 million women and girls of color around the country. We must begin by understanding the concept of intersectionality, a term coined by Kimberle’ Crenshaw in 1989 to acknowledge how intersecting factors such as race, class, gender identity, and sexual orientation contribute to marginalization. Intersectionality can be a powerful and practical tool for seriously weighing and addressing the multiple factors that result in the ongoing oppression and subordination of black girls. The study exposed stories about excessive punishments at school for revealing clothing, throwing tantrums, sexual violence at home, and taxing domestic responsibilities. As more donors ask how they can support the struggle for racial justice, intersectionality can help to focus on how best to support black girls growing up in this culture.

 

Future Doctors Draft an Amended Oath
NPR reported that Sean Sweat, a first-year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine sat down with 11 of her classmates to write an alternative version of the medical profession's venerable Hippocratic oath that takes COVID-19 and racial discrimination into account. The new oath asks physicians to eliminate their personal biases, combat disinformation to improve health literacy, and be an ally for minorities and other underserved groups in society. The revised version also calls on each doctor to pledge to learn about the social determinants of health "to advocate for a more equitable health care system." The social determinants they refer to include conditions in the environments in which people are born, that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.

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Market Street

Bookkeeper, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY 

Business Director, Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Indio, CA

Care Support Specialist, Light of Life Ministries, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA

Chief Program Officer, Charlotte Rescue Mission, Charlotte, NC

Cook, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Counseling Program Manager, The Rescue Mission Tacoma, Tacoma, WA

Custodian, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Data Administrator, Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries, Kalamazoo, MI

Development Director, Home of Grace, Vancleave, MS

Development Manager, Bread of Life Mission, Seattle, WA

Director of Development, Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission, Reno, NV

Director of Operations, Fairhaven Rescue Mission, Covington, KY

Director, Lifespring Ministries, Wayside Cross Ministries, Aurora, IL

Director-San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, Rescue Mission Alliance, Oxnard, CA

Driver, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Empowerment Coach / Case Manager, New Life Mission, Melbourne, FL

Executive Director, Fairhaven Rescue Mission, Covington, KY

Executive Director, Geauga Faith Rescue Mission, Chardon, OH

Facilities Manager, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Family Recovery Program Director, St. Matthew's House, Naples, FL

Grants Administrator, Stability First, Inc., Martinsville, IN

Guest Services Manager, Shelter KC, Kansas City, MO

Lead Recovery Coach, Shelter KC, Kansas City, MO

Maintenance Lead Supervisor, Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries, Kalamazoo, MI

Major Gifts Officer, Union Rescue Mission, Wichita, KS

Major Gifts Officer, St. Matthew's House, Naples, FL

Manager of Donor Relations, Lexington Rescue Mission, Lexington, KY

Mental Health Counselor, The Rescue Mission Tacoma, Tacoma, WA

Nonprofit Management Department Chair (online), City Vision University, Kansas City, MO

Operations Manager, Central Union Mission, Washington, DC

Outreach Specialist (Seattle Area), Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

PRN Residential Care Mentor, Shelter KC, Kansas City, MO

Program Advisor, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Program Director: Justin's Place Women, St. Matthew's House, Naples, FL

Residential Coordinator_Cornerstone Manor Facility, Buffalo City Mission, Buffalo, NY

Resource Advocate, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Safety Team Member, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Search and Rescue Specialist, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Security Team, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Short-Term Living Coordinator Men's Ministry, Lebanon Rescue Mission, Inc., Lebanon, PA

Social Work/Clinical Manager, Denver Rescue Mission, Denver, CO

Vice President of People Services, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Vice President of Programs, Career Cross Training, Colorado Springs, CO

VP of Recovery Programs, St. Matthew's House, Naples, FL

Women's New Life Growth Manager, Portland Rescue Mission, Portland, OR

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Do not yield to fear, for I am always near.
   Never turn your gaze from me, for I am your faithful God.
   I will infuse you with my strength
   and help you in every situation.
   I will hold you firmly with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Do you feel tension in every part of your body these days? How are you processing the stress that you’re feeling; that your team is feeling; that your family and friends are feeling?

It’s important to process this stress and release it. Maybe that’s by moving your body in some way; by taking a walk; by connecting with people meaningfully; by booking an extra therapy appointment, by tuning in to some good worship music or teaching.

To keep on leading well, we need to first get in a good (or better) place ourselves. Consider the pressures you’re facing and remember you have agency over what you consume. Are your eyes fixed on the news? Are you scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through the socials looking for answers or escape? Remember: You have agency in what you’re consuming; you have agency over what internal dialogue you’re having with yourself and over the external conversations you’re having with others.

Act with wisdom and discernment on when to step away and when to lean in to the news, to the email chains, to social media, to conversations. Consider how you’re engaging with others. As a leader, whether in your organization, your family, your community, or your church, you engage with people who have a range of emotions, feelings, and opinions. Avoid platitudes in your interactions with others. They can come across as insensitive and unhelpful — and may unintentionally wound those around us.

Consider the work that needs to be done. 2020 has revealed fault lines — and the depths of division are not confined to politics. Moving forward effectively will require resilience and empathy along with listening and leadership that we may not be used to, or want to do, but it will be absolutely necessary.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Colossians 4:5-6

Written by Jo Saxton, author, speaker, consultant (and keynote presenter at the Citygate Network 2021 Annual Conference & Exposition in Baltimore). Used with permission.

 

To contribute: If you would like to write a devotional thought for StreetLight, please make it about 200 words, include at least one Bible verse or passage, and submit via email.

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Street Smart is provided to you as a member service of Citygate Network, and is published on the 1st and 15th of each month (unless those dates fall on a weekend or holiday). The content does not necessarily represent the views of or imply endorsement by Citygate Network. To submit items for publication, email editor@citygatenetwork.org.