OCTOBER 2020 Newsletter
Pastor Jim Chapman
The Red Sea
Earlier this year, I sent a note to you regarding Christ’s Body response to the ongoing challenges of the COIVID-19 virus and how we would be going forward with our daily ministry to the homeless. You can find it at this link: https://www.christsbody.org/covid-19-update.
Few of us could have imagined the changes that have occurred in our culture today. It is a new world for everyone!
When our founder Bruce McBogg started Christ’s Body in the 1990’s, he envisioned a Denver street ministry dedicated to the discipleship and sobriety of homeless men. These men would in turn go out “into the street” and engage homeless, poor, and addicted men who found themselves in the deathly vice of crime, drugs, and hopelessness. They would share the Gospel with these men. This is our historic DNA at Christ’s Body.
It is funny how God uses hardship to steer a new course. I am reminded of the great story of the Israelites standing with their backs to the Red Sea, escaping out of Egypt, with Pharaoh’s army horde thundering down upon them, fully bent on their destruction (Exodus 14). It appeared to be game over. They would be destroyed. But Yahweh, God Almighty had other plans! In a miraculous act, God parted the sea giving them a clear new path through to the other side. A new way awaited them.
For years, Christ’s Body had served the homeless community every day at our Denver facility. We served 1200 meals per week and ministered overtime to thousands of others. Our routines were set, our work well established and our ministry secure. But the arrival of COVID-19 threw us a curveball. It first appeared to be game over for the most part for us, or certainly, a radical change would have to occur. Earlier this year, I believed that we had to close everything down to protect our staff, volunteers, and guests. Our building was too small and confined to host our homeless friends like we used to. The day to day work of serving hundreds of homeless people appeared to be at an end. We faced our Red Sea. But God had something else in mind!
Today, I am excited to share some good news with you. We have crossed over our “Red Sea.” Since May, Christ’s Body is the midst of an exciting ministry pivot. Born out of necessity, God’s leading, and a whole bunch of hard work by our talented staff team, we are moving forward towards daily, on the street outreach to the homeless community. Most days, we now have outreach teams working throughout the Denver metro area bringing the Gospel, food, clothing, and hope to hundreds of homeless people. We have also created new weekly outreach sites in Arvada and Golden with future outreach work coming in Douglas County. And, do you want to know a funny thing? We are serving nearly the same number of homeless people as we were before, but we are going out to them!
We are still doing our long-term residential recovery program and respite care at our Denver location. Our main focus now is the outreach ministry. I think Bruce McBogg is smiling in heaven! This is the historic way of Christ’s Body returning in a new way in 2020!
Many of our volunteers have returned to help us too. Some have joined our weekly “Burrito and Bible Brigade”, assembling hundreds of burritos to be taken out to the streets. Others are donating and stocking up our clothing bank. While others have gotten trained up and have joined our outreach teams!
More than ever, the need for on the street spiritual and physical triage is high and growing. There are more homeless individuals than ever before. All of them are desperate for care and hope.
As our outreach work matures, I will keep you informed. Please pray for us now, for our homeless guests we serve, for new innovative care programs, and for our ongoing health. We grab onto Psalm 117:1-2 as a great and powerful reminder that God has steadfast love towards us and that his faithfulness endures forever!
A RESIDENT PROGRAM TRIP UPDATE by Pastor Sterling Copeland
Pastor Sterling and our residents Akeem and Ebron took the 8-hour drive to Dubois, Wyoming for a fantastic team retreat this last month. A long-time friend of Christ’s Body Ministries Liz Furham hosted the guys in her family-owned hotel, the Black Bear Inn, and showed us all that Dubois has to offer. Some highlights of the trip included: daily Bible devotions, fly-fishing, redneck golfing, touring Yellowstone National Park, and nightly s'mores by the campfire.
Amidst all of the great activities we had planned, there was one moment in particular that stuck with the team. On our fly fishing outing, we walked on Wind River a few miles to get to our ideal fishing hole. During our walk on the river’s smooth stones, we were informed that the very ground that we were walking on is submerged in water 8 months of the year. It was a wild thought, that we were walking on the ground that most people don’t ever get to see.
Ebron, Pastor Sterling, Akeem and Liz enjoy fishing and fellowship in wyoming
This scene is played out in Joshua 3 when God stopped the waters of the Jordan River and allowed the Israelites to cross over dry land. God then asked the tribes to select stones and make an altar for their crossing. That altar was to remind Israel that God saved them from a major obstacle in their path. How fitting a story for our residents. And like Israel, we selected rocks from the river. And these rocks similarly remind us that the Promise Land is just on the other side of whatever obstacle we face.
golden outreach update
There is an amazing crew of volunteers that have emerged in the past month as we started the Golden outreach.
wendy sykes, patty telgener and pastor susan setting up for a night of fellowship
It is an absolute awesome sight to see how God brings together so many people to help out in this outreach. His love is powerful and we certainly can’t outgive God. The number of people who need help at this time continues to grow, and with God’s help, we will be there to meet those needs.
First of all, the outreach is held at the United Methodist Church in Golden with Pastor Susan at the helm. Volunteers from the Presbyterian church in Golden come to help out with running showers for the guests. Then we have a crew from Christ’s Body, lead by volunteer Wendy Sykes, who figures out the meals and clothing to bring out each week. We have a volunteer group that provides a full meal twice a month, and Chick-fil-a provides sandwiches once a month.
Got lasagna? Michelle
and Julie do!
new resident spotlight - akeem dias
The Spotlight for this month is on our newest resident at Christ’s Body Ministries, Akeem Dais. Akeem has been a friend of the ministry for years, having long stretches of volunteer time before making the switch to a program resident.
akeem enjoying the outdoors
Looking forward to the residency program, Akeem is excited to learn more about God’s purpose for his life and continue his educational goals. Classes for his GED program will start in October, and as he progresses in his educational program, he also will make strides in his residency program here at CBM.
Akeem is an energetic and happy-go-lucky guy that is very passionate especially when it comes to sports. Not surprisingly, the first thing that most people see with Akeem is his height at 6’6, which has translated well into his favorite sport, basketball. Akeem and Pastor Sterling have had the opportunity to play pick-up basketball weekly, which is a great reward for a busy work week serving the homeless. One of the things that resonates for Akeem is giving back to people that were in similar life circumstances that he has been. Giving back seems to be a real joy for him. So don’t be alarmed by his size, Akeem is a really a gentle giant with a very soft heart.
One of the highlights of Akeem’s time at CBM has come from the recent Wyoming Retreat, where he was out of his element in nature, even learning how to fly-fish. Not only did this city guy catch his first ever fish, but he also got up close and personal with a buffalo at Yellowstone National Park.
“Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol Him, all peoples! For great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!” - Psalm 117:1-2 (ESV)