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Thursday, June 23, 2005

A Bridge of Hope Moment

Something interesting happened this evening. At least, it was of interest to me.

I chaired a meeting of a steering committee whose purpose is to determine if a ministry to the homeless is feasible for the Louisville metro area. The meeting was sort of an anniversary because it has been almost exactly a year since some of us first met to learn about the ministries of the national organization, Bridge of Hope, Inc.

We have struggled through the past year, doing what needs to be done but with an undersized steering committee doing it. There are only six of us and, since that six includes two married couples, we really only have three operational units doing the work that I believe needs at least a dozen people. Yet, as I said, we’re doing what needs to be done because we believe in the Bridge of Hope ministries and its philosophy to “end and prevent homelessness—one church and one family at a time.”

At first out steering committee met in churches. Usually, we were the only ones in those church buildings, except, perhaps, occasionally some young people playing basketball. In May, I visited the Bridge of Hope national offices in Pennsylvania. You may remember my May 16th post (accessible in the May Achieve via the Archives link on the right side of this blog) about finding, upon my return from Pennsylvania, that my adolescent cat, Alex, had been hosting a party while I was out-of-town. Well, that aside, while talking to folks in Pennsylvania during my visit I gleaned quite a few ideas.

On of those was the concept of a “Bridge of Hope Moment.” That’s when we pray for the needs of our Bridge of Hope Ministries and those prayers are answered. For example, one relatively new Bridge of Hope affiliate that I visited needed different, more centrally located office space. So they prayed for that space, even naming the cross streets of the town where they wanted to be located. That, in my spiritual experience, is being extremely specific in a prayer petition. The Bridge of Hope Moment came when someone offered them office space, not only in the town the sought, but within a couple of blocks of the location they named in their prayers.

Something else I gleaned was the idea of having steering committee meetings in resturaunts. That seemed like a good idea to me, so we’ve held our last two meetings in resturaunts.

As we met tonight, I again pointed out that we need more people on our steering committee. I read a suggestion in one of the guides that we’ve been using that said something like “have a half dozen or so of your steering committee…” Well, as you may easily discern, that’s all of us!

As we were preparing to adjourn tonight’s meeting, Charlie, one of our members, asked that I end with a prayer for “some Bridge of Hope moments” to help meet the needs of this significant ministry we are working so hard to establish. I did, and included as one the petitions in the prayer the need for more folks to help us to do our work. I remember thinking as I re-packed my briefcase, “It would be nice if at least one of those petitions were answered before out July meeting.”

Before I had my briefcase closed, one of the waitresses who overheard our committee discussion come up to me and volunteered to work with Bridge of Hope! I have her name and contact information.

I suppose that's good reason for meeting in public resturaunts rather than empty church buildings. But more than that, it is, for me, a very real—and unexpected— Bridge of Hope Moment!

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