My previous post was pointing to and reacting to a post from David Hilfiker, who is a member of a Church of the Saviour community called Eighth Day Community (David’s sermons here). Here is a short description of some of the ministries of The Church of the Saviour, from one of David’s articles:
As a physician and writer, I’ve been working in the inner city of Washington D.C. for more than two decades as part of a network of institutions initiated and maintained by people from one church with less than 150 members. As part of those efforts:
* Jubilee Housing has offered low-cost housing to hundreds of low-income residents for over thirty years.
* Columbia Road Health Services has provided medical care for homeless people and other low-income people from around the city for almost thirty years.
* Jubilee Jobs helps place over 1,000 people a year in entry-level jobs and then returns a year later to assist them in obtaining living-wage jobs. It’s active in the District’s living-wage campaign.
* Christ House is a 34-bed infirmary for homeless men and women too sick to be on the streets yet not sick enough to be in the hospital.
* Joseph’s House and Miriam’s House offer home, community, and hospice care to homeless men and women with AIDS and cancer.
* Samaritan Inns provides intensive in-patient recovery for men and women with addictions and then 6-month follow-up programs and long-term housing for hundreds.
* Manna has built close to 1,000 houses for very low-income people to purchase.
* Academy of Hope is one of the largest adult education programs in the city.
All of these organizations hire and serve religious and non-religious people without distinction; all began well before anyone talked about “faith-based initiatives.” And that’s just a very partial list. And from only one faith community. Indeed, take away the institutions in Washington DC that have been initiated and largely maintained by people of faith and there’s not much left in the way of non-governmental services specifically for the poor. I doubt it’s strikingly different in other cities around the country.