Since 2002, All Angels’ Church has been in partnership with Hope For New York as a way to support the ongoing work of Community Ministries. This organization has been a tremendous resource over the years, equipping our ministry with volunteers, grant funding, trainings, and a network of fellow Affiliates, among other things.
A few weeks back, I was notified that Hope For New York had chosen All Angels’ for the second year in a row as a finalist for the HFNY Community Investment Award–an award given to one of 40+ HFNY affiliates, for an additional $10,000 beyond our grant allotment. This award recognizes the impact of the winning organization on its target communities, as well as its need for additional funding. All we had to do was give an 8-minute pitch–to 50 members of the Community Grant Circle and partnering churches–about who we are, what we do, and how we will use this extra funding.
Here was my pitch: Give us an extra $10,000 and we will use it to hire a Community Ministries Program Manager.
You might be wondering, “Why do we need a program manager?” and “Isn’t that what you do, Chelsea?”. This is where things get fun…
On the pitch night, I started off by reading a vignette written by one of our parishioners, Belinda Luscombe, about her experience sleeping at the shelter as a volunteer. She described the chasm between herself and the shelter guests, despite their physical closeness as they shared a room together that one Sunday night. I found this to be an appropriate setup to the rundown of programs, services, and events we offer through Community Ministries to 600+ participants per year; It was appropriate because the committed relationship people like Belinda have to our ministry, and to the people who benefit from it, is what makes All Angels’ truly unique. And, family, I can not tell you how many other people want to be able to say the same about their own churches. They tell me so all the time. We really do offer something unique and powerful through Community Ministries, not just to those on the streets but also to our parishioners, and to the city. We have a gift that ought to be shared.
So I ask, What if we could replicate Community Ministries throughout the city? What if we put CM into a model (albeit nuanced) that could be replicated in neighboring churches? What if these new churches we graft through the Episcopal Diocese could all be part of an AAC Community Ministries network? What if the 70,000+ people experiencing homelessness in NYC knew there was a network of churches they could go to for support? What if these churches played a role in addressing the NYC housing crisis in a real and tangible way? Imagine the impact.
At the end of the summer, we will be hosting another Town Hall, so to speak, to give a much more robust and detailed description of what we mean by “replicating Community Ministries”. In the meantime, our priority is to hire a Community Ministries Program Manager (or CMPM, if you’re lazy), to provide on-the-ground program oversight for our shelter, drop-in program, and events, as I (with the help of two committees) do the work of clarifying and tightening up our structures, protocols, services, discipleship opportunities, and long-term goals for the future of the ministry.
Even in writing this post, I get excited. God is doing a mighty work here at All Angels’ and the same can be said for this profound ministry. And, I believe God wants us to give him the space to do an even greater work in it. My prayer is that this new vision, and new team structure, will do just that.
–Chelsea Horvath, Director of Community Ministries