Volume 15, Number 18 | September 15, 2021 | www.citygatenetwork.org  

This edition of Street Smart is abbreviated due to our Annual Conference and Exposition taking place this week in Baltimore. We’ll be back with a full edition again on October 1st.

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This issue of Street Smart is sponsored by:



Annual Conference Kicks Off Tomorrow
Those of you who have attended one of our events in the past know that we have several preliminary educational events going on at the venue even before the formal opening of the conference; and that’s why our staff is already in Baltimore. But Thursday marks the official opening of the conference. More than 900 people are scheduled to be present, to learn, be encouraged, network, gather resources, refuel, and renew relationships. If you’re one of those who’s planning to be in Baltimore with us, be sure to download the Whova app on your mobile device to stay connected and in the know. If you can’t join us, we’ll miss you, but we’ll be posting some updates along the way on social media, as well as on our website after the conference concludes.


San Antonio Is Next Up
Whether you’ll be in Baltimore or are sitting this one out, block June 1 – 4, 2022 on your calendar. That’s our next Annual Conference and Exposition. We’ll be holding it in the heart of Texas, at the San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk. Speakers will include Jo Saxton, Mylon LeFevre, Dr. Matthew Stanford, Ed Stetzer, plus musical guest, Mo Pitney who will present a concert on the San Antonio River Walk’s Arneson Theater. An Early Bird brochure will be available in November.


Faith and Recovery Webinar Being Offered Today
Faith-based communities are uniquely positioned to provide long-term support and the wrap-around care that sustains and strengthens recovery from and prevention of substance use disorders (SUDs). In recognition of September as National Recovery Month, the HHS Partnership Center is hosting a webinar today featuring special guests who will discuss strategies for strengthening the participation of faith-based communities in support of people in recovery from SUDs and approaches that may prevent future misuse. Register here to join the webinar: Equipping Faith-based Communities to Respond to Substance Use Disorders. Presenters include Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships; Dr. Monty Burks, Director of Faith-based Initiatives; Pastor Greg Delaney, Recovery Services Director.


Ashmen Article Headlines NAE website
The National Association of Evangelicals recently commissioned Citygate Network President John Ashmen to write an article for the Fall issue of their quarterly publication Evangelicals. That piece, titled Rescue Missions Pursue a New Normal, is also currently featured on the homepage of their website and talks about how our members have been pivoting to adjust to the wake created by COVID.


Support for a Member in Court
At the end of August, Citygate Network filed a second amicus brief on behalf of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. (The first was more than two years ago when the case was being heard for the first time.) This brief will be used should the United States Supreme Court decide to hear the case of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission v. Woods. The defendant, a Citygate Network member, is defending its right as a Christian faith-based organization to hire only people who are committed followers of Jesus and can support the mission’s tenets. How this case plays out could impact all faith-based organizations, Christian, Jewish, Islamic, etc. We’ll keep you posted as things develop, but meanwhile, please commit this watershed case to the Lord in prayer.


Looking Down the Street

  • Joe Vasquez, co-director of Salt Lake City Mission (Salt Lake City, Utah) recently received a Leadership Award from the Federation of Mexicans United in Utah for not only organizing and providing relief for over 157,000 Utahans throughout the pandemic, but also for his efforts to specifically communicate with and assist the Hispanic community in northern Utah via Spanish television and radio channels.
  • Last week Hendersonville Rescue Mission (Hendersonville, North Carolina) celebrated 40 years of service to their community. Although they elected not to hold the celebratory luncheon they had planned, they’ve come a long way since they began with a Little Debbie food truck and a commercial coffee maker back in 1981.
  • Rockford Rescue Mission (Rockford, Illinois) just received a $5,000-plus grant for their art therapy program. Participants work through trauma by drawing, painting, and crafting home décor, using the creative outlet to express thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a safe and healthy environment.
  • Proceeds from a lemonade stand set up by two young sisters provided meals for more than 200 guests at the Springs Rescue Mission (Colorado Springs, Colorado). The girls raised more than $1,000 and inspired everyone at the mission with their generosity.


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

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Mixed Reviews on Violence Interrupters
Throughout the country, groups like Cure Violence and Advance Peace have reached out to members of local communities who have a history with gangs and/or violence, asking them to step in as mediators to deescalate conflicts before they turn violent. The idea is to stop shootings and murders and foster peace within communities without involving armed officers. However, mixed results indicate that the interrupter approach doesn’t necessarily significantly decrease shootings and murders. America has seen a spike in violent crime over the last year-and-a-half, and since most crime-fighting policy is made at the state and local levels, lawmakers will have to make tough decisions about whether to embrace innovative programs and strategies like interrupters or revert to more traditional methods of curbing violence.


Working Parents Provide Insight on Family Policies
Just this week, the New York Times ran an op-ed reviewing information obtained by The Institute for Family Studies and partner organizations during recent focus groups with white parents in Ohio, Black parents around Atlanta, and Hispanic parents from the San Antonio area. Many of the participants wanted to see work as the price of admission for government benefits. Working-class parents also tend to think family policies should offer more than just a check—they want expanded options and help to afford the ever-increasing cost of living. Their take-home pay often doesn’t provide enough income to keep up with bills but disqualifies them from safety-net benefits. One mother shared her frustration that people without jobs seem like they get all the assistance rather than those who work hard but can’t get the help they need. Across the board, parents expressed a desire for flexible government benefits instead of one size fits all.

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Achieving Healthy Balance
According to recent Barna research, 62 percent of U.S. adults expressed an interest in preaching and programs that address achieving mental and emotional well-being. The numbers came in even higher for practicing Christians with 86 percent showing an interest in this type of teaching. Living in an increasingly digital age, bestselling author and speaker Rebekah Lyons emphasizes the importance of exercise, time outside, and healthy sleep patterns, noting that “sleeplessness is one of the leading triggers for all mental health disorders.” Lyons said that many in leadership haven’t incorporated those critical things into their lives for so long that they don’t even realize that they’ve only been operating at about 30 percent of capacity as a result. Consider: In what ways have you incorporated these critical elements into your own life, as well as the lives of your guests and program participants?

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Restoring with Gentleness

What’s the first thing that happens when someone breaks an arm? He or she cradles the broken limb and anyone who comes to help treats it with extreme gentleness and tenderness.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Galatians 6:1 ESV

The word “restore” in this verse means to reset a dislocated limb or broken bone. Paul is writing about dealing gently and tenderly with brothers and sisters in Christ who fall to sin.

However, when you’re setting a broken bone, you also must be firm, direct, and strong. The process is called fracture reduction. The doctor’s goal is to get the broken ends of the bones as close together as possible. They must also be aligned so the bones can grow back quickly and properly.

This is a perfect metaphor for how to restore a brother or sister in Jesus. We must be gentle, tender, and understanding. However, we aren’t simply supposed to cradle their broken limb without helping set it back in place.

There is a call to putting away sin—and as God’s family we help one another do so. Paul also reminds those who are “spiritual” to keep free from pride! Because the treachery of sinful hearts is that the very thing we condemn, we often fall guilty of.

Restoring a brother or sister in Jesus is like setting a bone: gentle in diagnosing, firm and biblically aligned in resetting.

Are you a gracious person who people can confess sin to without fear that more damage will be inflicted?

Used with permission from shortdailydevotions.com

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.