Volume 5, Number 18 • September 15, 2011 • www.agrm.org        



AGRM opposes newly proposed limits on tax deductions

AGRM is working with the Alliance for Charitable Reform and other coalition members to participate in a Capitol Hill "Advocacy Day," tentatively scheduled for October 6. The event will be held as part of the response to a new proposal by the White House to limit the value of all itemized deductions to 28 percent for high-income taxpayers. This proposal is part of President Obama’s plan to raise revenue to pay for the American Jobs Act. In addition, the newly formed deficit reduction "super committee" might also consider limiting the value of charitable deductions as part of its mandate to recommend an additional $1.5 trillion in federal savings by Thanksgiving.

AGRM and its members have consistently opposed these kinds of proposals for the past three years and will continue to do so. Watch your email for an Action Alert from AGRM Government Liaison Rhett Butler, which will provide further details about the Advocacy Day event, and provide additional info on the deduction-limitation proposal.

Interest grows in Invisible Neighbors campaign

Invisible Neighbors continues to generate incredible interest! The campaign addresses the responsibility of Christians for hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted people, and teaches how to recognize and engage locally with the hard-to-detect poor, as well as how to help rescue missions with the easy-to-neglect poor. Cross Section, the publisher of Invisible Neighbors, is busy fulfilling orders. If you ordered a preview kit and haven’t yet received it, please contact Executive Assistant Lily Wright, who will work to help you resolve any issues. To learn more about Invisible Neighbors or to order materials, visit the campaign’s website.

Ashmen travels to district meetings

AGRM President John Ashmen is currently on the road attending the Mideast District meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. John reports that attendance is close to 70 individuals from the four states and District of Columbia that make up the district. Next week, John will travel to New York City to represent AGRM at Movement Day, "a gathering of leaders to catalyze gospel movements," which is being facilitated by the New York City Leadership Center. John will then head to the Northeast District meeting in Albany, New York, September 22–23.

National Recovery Month celebrates treatment successes

As part of the 22nd annual observation of National Recovery Month, which is coordinated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), AGRM is celebrating the success and unique contributions of rescue missions in addiction recovery. Recovery Month seeks to educate Americans that addiction treatment and mental health services can help those with a substance abuse or mental disorder live a healthy and rewarding life. AGRM missions are being highlighted through a web campaign and national press releases, and stories of recovery are being featured on AGRM’s website. It’s not too late to be included! Please submit stories and statistics to Director of Public Relations Nicole Daniels.

Quick reminder of upcoming AGRM events:

AGRM’s Snapshot Survey
AGRM’s annual survey, which collects data about the individuals served at your organization, will take place the week of October 10–14. Materials will be made available via the web next week. By participating, your mission will be among the first to receive the published results and a media release to help you share your story with your local media outlets and donors. If you don’t have staff members available to complete the survey, consider bringing in volunteers to help with the data collection. For more information, email Director of Public Relations Nicole Daniels or call her at (719) 266-8300 ext. 103.

District Meetings
Throughout the next two months, AGRM’s districts are meeting across North America, offering you an opportunity to gather with your peers. The first district meeting began today. 

September 15–16
Crown Plaza Pittsburgh Airport, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Host Mission: Light of Life Ministries, Inc (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

September 21–23
Host Mission: Spokane Union Gospel Mission (Spokane, Wash.)

September 22–23
Hampton Inn & Suites, Albany, N.Y.
Host Mission: Capital City Rescue Mission (Albany, N.Y.)

September 28–30
The Cove, Ashville
Host Mission: Miracle Hill Ministries, Inc. (Greenville, S.C.)

North Central
September 29–October 1
Host Mission: Union Gospel Mission—Twin Cities (St. Paul, Minn.)

October 4–6
Gull Lake Conference Center, Hickory Corners, Mich.
Host Mission: Kalamazoo Gospel Mission (Kalamazoo, Mich.)

October 4–6
Host Mission: Long Beach Rescue Mission (Long Beach, Calif.)

October 21–23
Host Mission: Phoenix Rescue Mission (Phoenix, Ariz.)

South Central
October 27–29
Host Mission: City Rescue Mission, Inc. (Oklahoma City, Okla.)

For additional information, contact your district officers through ARGM’s district webpage.

Hurricane Irene update

Christopher A. Silipigno, director of ministries at City Mission of Schenectady (Schenectady, N.Y.) reports:

During the recent hurricane and inland flooding disasters in Upstate New York, the City Mission of Schenectady itself was largely spared. Although we did lose power for 18 hours and had a few internal situations of our own, several locations in our county and neighboring towns were wiped out. While we’re not really equipped for disaster relief efforts, we believe the Lord has uniquely positioned us to help our neighbors during this time of unprecedented flooding and weather-related destruction. To that end, we’ve been sending groups of 8–12 staff and residents to Schoharie County, one of the hardest-hit areas in New York, since the hurricane hit three weeks ago. We’ve also become a conduit for local donations of food, clothing, demolition equipment, and various other needed items. God has been working through these efforts in the lives of our staff, men in our discipleship program, local church volunteers we’ve partnered with, and of course, the flood victims themselves. There’s a lot of pain and suffering in these areas, but it really is amazing to watch the Lord work in it.

If your mission suffered damage from Hurricane Irene or other current weather disasters, or if you have been involved in local relief efforts, we’d like to hear your story. Please email a brief description to Brad Lewis, AGRM’s Publications Manager.

Looking down the street…
  • Erie City Mission (Erie, Pa), is celebrating 100 years of serving the people of the area at its Centennial Banquet, October 13. Congratulations to Director Rick Crocker and the mission’s staff, board, and volunteers.
  • Yvonne Brake, director of development at Haven of Rest Ministries (Akron, Ohio) and an AGRM board member, was accepted into Eastern University's online Ph.D program. Her doctorate will be in Organizational Leadership. Yvonne welcomes the challenge of working full-time in rescue ministry and maintaining her academic schedule.
  • The San Diego Rescue Mission (San Diego, Calif.) will be hosting its fifth annual all-night event to raise awareness of homelessness, September 24–25. Sleepless San Diego, which has inspired similar events across North America, encourages members of the local community to “sleep out” on one designated night per year to increase recognition of homelessness, demonstrate unity, and become part of the chorus for lasting solutions.
  • The Merriam Agency, an AGRM business member and contract partner, has opened a satellite office in Colorado Springs. The goal of the new location is to enhance the delivery of insurance options to churches, rescue missions, and other religious organizations in the western U.S. Jon Barron is the new office’s branch manager; Jon may be reached via email or phone at (719) 632-0740.

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Judge approves end to New York City rent subsidies

A Manhattan judge has ruled that New York City can stop paying rent for more than 16,000 formerly homeless families after losing state backing for an initiative known as the Advantage program, stating that the city was within its rights to cancel the program. According to a Wall Street Journal report,  the city notified families in March that the subsidies were stopping because of state budget cuts. The Legal Aid Society represented tenants and argued the program amounted to a contract. The judge, however, ruled that the program was a benefit, not a contract. An appeals court subsequently ordered the city to keep paying the subsidies as the legal fight continues.

Singer’s death stresses danger of detoxing alone

The father of singer Amy Winehouse, who died in July at the age of 27, says she was off drugs for three years, but was in a continuous battle with alcohol. Further, he believes the way she was trying to detox might have killed her. According to an msnbc.com report, Mitch Winehouse says he suspects his daughter suffered a seizure and “there was nobody there to rescue her.” While no one knows for sure the exact circumstances of Winehouse's death, substance abuse treatment experts say an alcohol detox can be more deadly than most people imagine. “While you’re withdrawing from other drugs, you may want to die, but alcohol detox is the only actual drug detox you can die from,” noted Cyndie Dunkerson, clinical supervisor for a rehab center in California. She added that during alcohol withdrawal, the body goes through a series of physical and neurological changes. Some symptoms of withdrawal include: high blood pressure, agitation, hyperactivity, increased anxiety, and depression. Further, some individuals get jaundice and turn yellow from hepatitis inflammation of the liver, and some have hallucinations and seizures. Dunkerson actually advises that people don’t stop drinking completely until they enter rehab because those undergoing acute withdrawal may need medical attention within the first 72 hours.

Hunger program helps eradicate invasive fish

Illinois officials are trying to solve two different problems by feeding Asian carp to hungry families. According to a Chicago Tribune report, Asian carp is an invasive species of fish that has been spreading across Illinois rivers and streams, killing off native species of fish. Officials want to create demand so that commercial fishing will reduce the carp's numbers. As part of the state's anti-hunger Target Hunger Now! program—which encourages hunters and fishermen to donate food to the needy—the state is using cooking demonstrations to promote Asian carp as a tasty food. The state Department of Natural Resources says Target Hunger Now! could process up to 40,000 pounds of fish a day.   

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Poverty rate in U.S. continues to soar

According to Census Bureau statistics released this week, another 2.6 million people slipped into poverty in the United States last year, while the number of Americans living below the official poverty line, 46.2 million people, was the highest number in the 52 years the bureau has been publishing figures on it. According to a New York Times report, the Census Bureau statistics were worse than many economists expected. Among the findings: Median household incomes fell last year to levels last seen in 1996, while the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line last year—15.1 percent—was the highest level since 1993. Minorities were hit hardest. Blacks experienced the highest poverty rate, at 27 percent, up from 25 percent in 2009. Hispanics rose to 26 percent from 25 percent. For whites, 9.9 percent lived in poverty, up from 9.4 percent in 2009. Asians were unchanged at 12.1 percent.

Americans often adapt religion to fit their needs

A key finding in newly released research by the Barna Group reveals that Americans are drifting from clearly defined religious denominations toward faiths cut to fit personal preferences. According to a USA Today report, the people who tailor their beliefs to suit their individual tastes fall into two broad categories: those who make up God as they go, and those who claim the label of “Christian” but shed their ties to traditional beliefs and practices. The study shows that religious practices have shifted significantly in the past 20 years. Among the changes:

In a typical week, U.S. adults who say they:



Read the Bible outside of church



Volunteered at church



Attended adult Sunday school



Attended worship



Accepted Jesus and expect to be saved



Call the Bible “totally accurate” in all principles



Define God as all-knowing, all-powerful ruler



Many Americans keep depressed emotions a secret

More than two-fifths of adults might not tell their doctor they’ve been feeling depressed, according to a new survey published in the Annals of Family Medicine. According to a WebMD report, the reasons patients don’t discuss depression with their primary care physician vary, but many are concerned that their doctor will prescribe an antidepressant they don't want to take. Other reasons include the belief it’s not the job of a primary care doctor to address emotional issues, and concerns about keeping medical records confidential. Of those surveyed, 43 percent gave at least one reason for not discussing depression with their primary care doctor. The news in the survey wasn't all negative: Seven of eight people said that primary care doctors are capable of identifying and treating depression. And few people said they are scared to broach the topic of depression for fear of embarrassment or losing face.

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Christmas in August

The Jimmie Hale Mission put a couple of twists on the traditional rescue mission holiday meal with its Christmas in August competition, held last month. Of course, the first twist was holding a Christmas meal in the summer; the message was to bring the Christmas spirit to those who need it most, acknowledging that people need help, regardless of the time of year. The second twist involved local businesses competing to see who could serve lunch the fastest to the homeless and hungry at the shelter. Check out the mission’s blog page to view videos of local TV coverage of the event.

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Rockford, Illinois: Director of Development—Oversee staff and development strategies for all annual fund activities and current capital campaign. Four-year degree with proven track record in fundraising and public relations. For more information, contact Randa Noble at (815) 316-4157. Added 9/15//2011

Holbrook, Arizona: Kitchen Manager, Office Personnel, Woodshop Director, or combination—Two to three positions, can be filled by married couple or single men. Housing provided and small pay. Unlimited opportunities to lead Bible studies, chapel, and disciple individuals. Contact Cherise Merrick via email or phone (928) 241-1061. Added 9/15//2011

Nashville, Tennessee: President/CEO—The Nashville Rescue Mission, a 900-bed, fiscally sound, nonprofit organization serving homeless men, women and children in Middle Tennessee is seeking a president and chief executive officer (CEO) due to the upcoming retirement of our current CEO. The salary and benefits package is competitive. The applicant should have significant upper management and preferably CEO experience. The CEO will direct and support the efforts of a senior leadership team along with a staff of 130 and oversee an annual budget of $12 million. Strategic planning is completed under the direction of our board of directors. Past experience in nonprofit management is desirable, but not mandatory. An energetic and committed Christian with a participatory leadership style who wants to make a difference in the lives of Nashville’s homeless is encouraged to apply. A cover letter and résumé can be submitted after completing an application at this website link. Please include two work references with names and phone numbers on your résumé. All candidate submissions, including reference contacts, will be handled with strict confidentiality. Learn more about this dynamic organization by visiting the mission’s website. Added 9/1/2011

Indianapolis, Indiana: Chief Administrative Officer—Wheeler Mission in Indianapolis is accepting résumés for chief administrative officer. This position is responsible to manage the business affairs of the ministry: accounting, budgeting, personnel, purchasing, resource development, insurance, food service, and maintaining and developing all ministry property. Strong accounting and management knowledge plus written and oral communication skills, experience in managing/executing business processes and strong people skills plus ability to implement business process improvements/changes. Business degree with accounting major from accredited college. Five or more years accounting/operations experience. Please send résumé to Debbie Moore, human relations director. Added 9/1/2011

Hot Springs, Arkansas: Operations Manager—Operations Manager needed at 4-year-old gospel rescue mission for men in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This person will be responsible to manage the resident program and oversee the intake and overnight programs. Strong interpersonal skills, experience working with homeless men, and a strong Christian witness are essential qualifications. Proficiency in Microsoft Office products is required. Email résumé to Jan Laggan. Added 9/1/2011

To advertise in future Market Street Classifieds:
Members of AGRM can place a 30-word classified ad listing available positions in two consecutive issues of Street Smart at no charge; additional words will be charged at 50 cents per word. Non-members can place an ad for $25 per issue for a 30-word ad; additional words will be charged at 50 cents per word. AGRM members can renew ads after the second placement at $15 per issue for a 30-word ad. Ads are also placed on the AGRM website. Members can also sponsor Street Smart for $350 per issue. Email desired ad placement to Brad Lewis (subject line: Street Smart advertising). Ads are subject to editing to conform to Street Smart style, and AGRM reserves the right to reject any ads or sponsorships it deems inappropriate for members. All ads are due one week before issue date.

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Speaking Christ’s Hope

Saying no isn’t always bad. My children tell me that my favorite word is no. My response is, “No, that’s not true.”

With my children, I use the word no to protect, guide, and balance the direction in their lives. They don’t always understand and sometimes challenge my answer, but they eventually come to terms with the decision.

Although the men and women who come to our missions are adults, many have a history of making bad choices. They come seeking direction and guidance in their lives. Sometimes we have to say no to requests they make—recognizing that these request could cause them harm or lead them into a downward spiral that again puts them at risk.

Answering no isn’t mean-spirited; instead we want to encourage our guests to move in a Christ-centered direction. Isaiah 48:17 says, “This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’”

May we always seek to speak Christ’s hope into the lives of the individuals who enter our doors.

Contributed by Jeff Kaiser, executive director of Haven of Rest Ministries (Akron, Ohio). Reprinted with permission from the Voice newsletter.

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

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All Scripture quotations taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, unless otherwise noted. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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