Volume 6, Number 1 • January 1, 2012 • www.agrm.org
Happy New Year from AGRM
All of us at the AGRM office in Colorado Springs—and AGRM staff working from points beyond—wish you a blessed 2012. We pray that our heavenly Father will make this year one of astonishing blessings while you remain faithful as His representative, offering radical hospitality in the name of Jesus to those in desperate need. We’re excited about so many things in place for this year. Keep plugged in to AGRM for all of the news as it comes along.
Join AGRM at Washington event
With the current political environment, it has never been more important to be seriously involved in government. CEOs and PR directors, mark your calendars for the second annual DC Conclave, March 18–20. This event will educate you about the latest government issues affecting rescue mission work, give you a unique opportunity to build relationships with federal elected officials, and provide time for fellowship with other rescue mission leaders. The gathering will also feature in-depth briefings by policy experts, government officials, and AGRM’s Government Liaison Rhett Butler. Rooms are available at the Kellogg Conference Hotel near Capitol Hill. Registration for the conference, meals, and lodging will only be available on the AGRM website beginning January 9. If you have any questions, please contact Meetings and Events Manager Lisa Miller via email or by phone at (719) 266-8300 x107. We look forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C.!
Board elects Janet Furness
According to AGRM bylaws, up to three board seats are to be held by individuals who are not working at or directly connected to member missions. Just elected to a term that starts this month is Dr. Janet Furness, associate dean and chair of the school of social work at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Although not connected with a mission, Janet is no stranger to rescue mission ministry. Her grandfather, Lawrence Sutherland, was the first superintendent of the Goodwill Home and Rescue Mission in Newark, N.J., from 1920–1954, and her father, Charles Y. Furness, was also a legend in the rescue mission world. He was the director of Goodwill Rescue Mission and wrote many of the recovery documents that rescue missions used from the 1950s through the 1980s. He later headed the department of social work at Philadelphia Biblical University. AGRM is please to have Dr. Furness serving the association in this key role.
Elections bring new faces to the board and officers to three districts
Voting in December brought new officers to three of AGRM’s nine districts, as well as four new board members. Following are the election results (all terms are for three years):
Also elected by the entire membership was Bruce Reith, Hope Mission (Edmonton, Alberta) who will serve as an at-large board member.
Savings continue for convention registration
Okay, so you didn’t make the December 15 early-bird sign up for the convention in Orlando. Take heart—you can still save by signing up before March 1! As a reminder, this year’s annual convention will be held May 20–23 at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida. You can also take part in plenty of fun pre- and post-convention opportunities. After all, it’s Orlando—maybe you’ve heard about Disney World and the Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, Sea World, and just a few other great attractions!
If you’re still debating about attending, be sure to check out the wealth of information available regarding the convention program, speakers, educational opportunities, and other events. Watch for the convention insert in the next issue of Rescue magazine, or check out the digital version online. You can also go to the convention webpage for the latest information.
Now that you’ve decided to attend, registering is easy! Just register online, or you can “do the paperwork” by using the registration form from the convention insert. While you’re at it, don't forget to reserve your room at the Rosen Centre by calling (800) 204-7234 or make room reservations online.
Convention exhibit hall offers valuable connections
Does your mission operate a ministry or business venture that might be of interest to other AGRM members? Or are you an AGRM business member that offers products and services to AGRM member missions? Join dozens of other vendors in the exhibit hall May 20–22 during the annual convention in Orlando. For details, check out our exhibitor and sponsor brochure or contact Exhibit and Sponsorship Manager Brad Lewis.
Expansion mission in Halifax celebrates grand opening
Approximately 80 people came to the grand opening of Souls Harbour Rescue Mission (Halifax, Nova Scotia) on December 7. The mission is AGRM’s three-year, association-wide expansion project. The grand opening was a Christmas networking event sponsored by a Christian business club and included hors d'oeuvres and cutting of the cake. According to Executive Director Michelle Porter, the highlight of the event was eight separate tours of the facilities throughout the evening.
Take advantage of these professional educational opportunities:
Please be in prayer for Merriam family
AGRM asks you to join together with your staff and pray for Brian Merriam (president of AGRM business partner The Merriam Agency), his wife, Judi, and their children Tyler and Kalina. On December 23, their middle child, 18-year-old Jenson, took his own life. The Merriams write: “Jenson left us a note telling us that it was time for him to go, it was no one's fault, and that he loved us all.…We miss Jenson so very much, and in spite of our terrible loss and grief, there are tiny glimpses of redemption that we are able to see a bit more with each passing day. We are only able to bear the pain because of the grace of Jesus and the prayers and support of our friends and family.” A memorial service will be held January 7 in Schenectady, New York.
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Homeless woman becomes social media celebrity
Competition to gain a following on social media is fierce, but imagine achieving it while homeless. That’s what AnnMarie Walsh, a homeless woman from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, did by using the Internet at a local library and using a hand-me-down cell phone. According to a Daily Herald report, Walsh gained more than 4,000 followers on Twitter, which in turn landed her a spot in a documentary called “Twittamentary.” One of her motives was to help others understand people who are homeless, noting, “Most of them think that homeless people are all criminals, on drugs, alcoholics. They think we don’t try to get out of homelessness and that we aren’t successful at anything. Some have college degrees and because of the economy got laid off.” Walsh’s tweeting paid off. After more than five years of homelessness, she found a place to live, thanks to a social worker who connected with her through Twitter.
Psychologist offers advice for keeping resolutions
It’s January, and with the dawning of another year, annual New Year’s resolutions become one of those good ideas that never seems to work out as intended. According to a USA Today report, many resolutions are fitness-related—to get more exercise or lose weight. But a lot of people lose interest in their resolutions in the first few weeks of the month. Psychologist Art Markman, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, offers some insight into why it’s so difficult to keep resolutions. “The most difficult New Year’s resolutions for people to keep are usually the ones where people are trying to stop doing something. People say they’re going to eat less or they’re going to stop smoking or they’re going to stop drinking. One of the reasons it’s hard to do that is now you’re replacing this behavior with no behavior. So what you need to do is replace a habit with some other behavior.” Markman suggests coming up with an alternate or competing behavior any time you want to do what you hope to stop. For example, if you want to quit smoking, adopt the competing goal to run a 5K race (Markman notes that it’s hard to remain a smoker if you are trying to train for a road race).
One-way bus rides continue to be part of homeless strategy
Last week, the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, joined the ranks of local government agencies acting as ticket brokers—providing homeless individuals and families with free one-way bus rides out of town. According to a Miami Herald report, Fort Lauderdale plans to spend about $25,000 a year on the effort, while Miami-Dade and Broward counties in Florida each spend at least twice that much annually. Homeless advocates say the free bus trips are worthwhile if those traveling are welcomed and sheltered by friends or family at their arrival city. Large metropolitan areas across the country, including New York and San Francisco, have their own free-trip programs. Before Broward County pays for bus tickets, it has the policy of requiring homeless travelers to show identification, and their friend or loved ones must confirm by phone that they are offering up their home. “I can’t think of a time when somebody’s given somebody’s name and they’ve said ‘No, they can’t come here,’” said a representative of Broward’s Human Services department. “We’ve had grandmothers cry and say ‘Bring my babies home.’” An emotional support network can boost the chances of a person breaking the cycle of homelessness and getting permanently back on their feet. And while not all homeless people are struggling with substance abuse issues, some certainly are, and moving to a different environment can be key for those trying to quit drugs or alcohol. Miami-Dade has a one-time-only policy when it comes to the complimentary travel. If a homeless man or woman returns to the county afterward, he or she is denied homeless-assistance services for a lengthy period of time. Miami-Dade relocated more than 300 homeless men, women, and children in 2011.
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Mentally ill individuals flood emergency rooms
Across the country, emergency rooms are facing a spike in psychiatric emergencies—attempted suicide, severe depression, psychosis—as states slash mental health services and the country's continuing economic crisis takes its toll. According to an msnbc.com report, this trend is taxing emergency rooms already overburdened by uninsured patients who wait until physical ailments become acute before seeking treatment. Further compounding the problem are patients with chronic mental illness who have been hurt by a squeeze on mental health services and find themselves with nowhere to go. Government agencies such as the National Institutes of Mental Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration haven’t released new data on use of psychiatric services in recent years. However, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), estimates that in the last three years states have cut $3.4 billion in mental health services, while an additional 400,000 people have sought help at public mental health facilities. In that same timeframe, demand for community-based services climbed 56 percent, and demand for emergency room, state hospital, and emergency psychiatric care climbed 18 percent.
Christianity grows dramatically in Africa
With 2.18 billion adherents, Christianity has become a truly global religion over the past century. According to a USA Today report, rapid growth in developing nations has offset declines in Christianity's traditional strongholds. The article summarizes findings in the Pew Research Center's “Global Christianity” study, which reports on self-identified Christian populations based on more than 2,400 sources of information, especially census and survey data. The study’s findings illustrate major shifts since 1910, when two-thirds of the world's Christians lived in Europe. Now only 1 in 4 Christians live in Europe. Most of the rest are distributed across the Americas (37 percent), sub-Saharan Africa (24 percent) and the Asia-Pacific region (13 percent). The report confirms Christianity's standing as the world's largest religion, with 32 percent of the global population. Islam is second with about 23 percent. A close look at the details reveals a few ironies:
Report labels homelessness a ‘manmade disaster'
While Christmas in New York is considered almost magical, a new report by the National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH) notes that nearly 50,000 children in the city were homeless this past holiday. And according to a New York Daily News report, the country’s largest city isn’t alone. In the U.S., more than 1.6 million children—one in 45—live in cars, motels, or homeless shelters over the course of a year. That’s the reality revealed just before Christmas in a 124-page report, “America’s Youngest Outcasts 2010.” The report ranks the 50 states using four criteria: the percentage of homeless children, their overall well-being, their risk for homelessness, and the states’ response to these problems. At the national level, the new numbers represent a 38 percent increase in child homelessness between 2007 and 2010. “The recession has been a manmade disaster for vulnerable children,” said NCFH’s president, adding that “there are more homeless children today than after the natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which caused historic levels of homelessness in 2006.” For the purposes of the report, a homeless child is any child 18 or younger living with at least one parent or caregiver in emergency shelters, motels, cars, campgrounds, and the like due to economic hardships or losing their homes. The report also finds that homeless children in America suffer from hunger and poor physical and emotional health as well as limited academic proficiency in reading and math, as the barrage of stressful experiences effects their development and ability to learn.
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A 5-cent object lesson
Topeka Rescue Mission (Topeka, Kan.) used the isolated image of a larger-than-actual-size nickel and just a few words in its newsletter to demonstrate how efficiently the mission provides meals to the homeless in the community:
“Last year we were blessed to help provide 444,466 meals. Food donations and volunteers helped keep the real cost of those meals at $20,853. Break the numbers down. That’s an average cost of one nickel per meal. 1 meal=$.05. But for hungry and homeless people, it is not about big #s. It is about food. And help. And hope. Hope found one hot meal at a time. That’s faith with its sleeves rolled up.”
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Green Bay, Wisconsin: House Manager—Philip’s Mission is a non-profit, 501c3 supportive-living ministry providing shelter and Christian-based programming in Green Bay. We serve men who are finding themselves in transition and willing to discover Jesus Christ. It is our hope that as they develop their relationship with Him, they will grow in the knowledge and understanding of who they are, what their purpose is, and how to live out that purpose. The house manager will oversee the day-to-day operations of the mission, perform light maintenance, lead devotions, attend to housekeeping and laundry schedules, assist clients with daily program goals/accountability, etc. Compensation: Receive room and board, mentoring assistance, discipleship. Please send a resume to Becky Larson. For more information, visit the mission website. Added 1/1/2012
Indianapolis, Indiana: Case Manager—Wheeler Mission is seeking a Christian woman to serve as a case manager to the women in the Higher Ground Addiction Recovery Program. Visit the mission website for more information. Added 1/1/2012
Fresno, California: Thrift Store Manager—The Fresno Rescue Mission, a Christ-centered nonprofit, is looking for a Thrift Store Manager to oversee thrift store operations. Details available online. Added 1/1/2012
Grand Rapids, Michigan: Vice President of Operations—Mel Trotter Ministries, a faith-based ministry, is looking for a person to fill the position of vice president of operations. The job consists of but is not limited to: Primarily responsible to provide leadership for all programs to clients and community: shelter, spiritual development, clinical, counseling, and benevolence. The CPO develops policies and procedures, directs staff, and establishes budgets. Evaluate ministry needs. Cultivate relationships with outside organizations and agencies to meet those needs. Qualifications: Strong administrative skills are necessary, supported by a minimum of three years’ experience in ministry as a director/supervisor. Candidates with skills in program development are encouraged to apply. Must exhibit and be able to effectively train in conflict resolution. An advanced degree in divinity or social work is favorable. Applicants may respond by fax to (616) 454-5255; mail to Mel Trotter Ministries, 225 Commerce Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503, attention HR; or via email. Added 12/15/2011
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We Need Each Other
Recently, I was invited to speak at a church that has supported the men and women of our mission for many years. The pastor asked if I could bring along guests from the mission to share their stories, so I invited Joel and Sondra to join me.
I love this kind of invitation! The church receives the rich reward that comes from hearing firsthand the life transformation made possible through its service to others, while our guests are provided the opportunity to glorify God for His redeeming love.
As Sondra and Joel took turns that Sunday, sharing their stories of lives transformed and glorifying God for a renewed future, a verse from the Book of Ecclesiastes came to mind: “How can one keep warm alone?” (Ecclesiastes 4:11).
The answer, of course, is that one can’t—we can’t, no matter our circumstances. We need each other; it’s never more complicated than that. Joel and Sondra needed someone to greet them at the door of our mission the day they arrived. They needed someone to listen to their stories. They needed people to be patient with them as they discovered new possibilities.
In the same way, our ministries have had people who have taken us in. Encouraged us. And patiently helped us secure—through God’s grace—a better tomorrow for thousands and thousands of people.
May God fill the coming year with family, love, warmth, and laughter. Thank you for standing with those seeking refuge and finding it each day.
Contributed by Dan Rogers, President/CEO of Cherry Street Mission Ministries (Toledo, Ohio). Reprinted with permission from Voice of Compassion 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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