New doors are opening – literally – for the St. Mark’s family in its partnership with Family Promise of Northern New Castle County, which recently announced its new Hospitality Center for families in need of temporary housing. And our first week of service is special indeed – Christmas Week! We will serve from December 23-30.
“What an opportunity for us to be Jesus’ hands and feet, opening our hearts and giving of our time and ourselves by providing meals, hospitality and support to those who need it most,” said Barb Gilbert, who with Pam Waters is coordinating the St. Mark’s team.
The Hospitality Center includes two ranch houses on the grounds of the Jesus House on Milltown Road. The Center will accommodate six families, up to 20 individuals.
This is an answer to prayer for us, as we have sought God’s guidance regarding our participation in this ministry. Each congregation commits to providing hospitality – food, evening activities and fellowship – for these families for one week each quarter. It’s an exciting opportunity to serve our Lord in partnership with other area congregations and these families.
“We’re excited and blessed to have St. Mark’s Lutheran Church as a partner in our new Hospitality Center,” said Carolyn Gordon, executive director of Family Promise of Northern New Castle County. “We couldn’t fulfill our mission of preventing and ending family homelessness without our volunteers and we’re grateful that St. Mark’s has committed to walk this new journey with us.”
Already, volunteer training has begun and dozens have signed up to participate. Opportunities are available for all ages and abilities – from cooking dinner to cleaning up, sharing activities with families, reading or playing games with children, grocery shopping or doing laundry.
“What if I were homeless?” asked Pam. “I would hope for help when I needed it. I feel that helping someone else in a time of need, even in small ways, is what Jesus taught us and is the most basic principle of Christianity.”
Vision and Mission
The disciples of St Mark’s are working in partnership with Family Promise of Northern New Castle County (FPNNCC) to help prevent and end family homelessness in New Castle County so that all families will have a home, a livelihood and resources for lasting independence.
As a congregation in the Hospitality Center Network we are committed to hosting up to four weeks a year at the Hospitality Center. This commitment includes preparing and serving meals, evening fellowship, and overnight hospitality on weekends.
- In the United States, one out of five children lives in poverty.
- Families with children make up 40% of people experiencing homelessness.
- There are more than 2,600 homeless children in Delaware. They represent 45% of our state’s homeless population.
- 12% of Delaware families live in poverty. In Wilmington, 25% of families live in poverty.
- In the Christina School District alone, more than 800 children experience homelessness every school year.
The Call of Jesus
Through this partnership, disciples at St. Mark’s are responding to Jesus’ call to serve our community as his representatives. This is faith active in love as we share our time and resources with those who have practically nothing.
As recorded in the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 25, verses 37-40):
“Then the righteous will answer to the king, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
Ways to Serve
- Prepare a meal for one night (4 times a year)
- Serve a meal for one night (4 times a year)
- Enjoy time with the guests of the Hospitality Center one night (4 times a year)
- Play games
- Help with homework
- Watch a movie
- Stay overnight as an emergency contact (one night – 4 times a year)
- Shop for food and supplies (one daytime run – 4 times a year)
- Launder the linens (2-4 loads of linens – 4 times a year)
- Set-up and clear the bedrooms (one Sunday turnover – 4 times a year)
- Contribute breakfast or lunch foods, or help with dinner – e.g. dessert (once – 4 times a year)
- Provide financial contribution to help offset cost for food and supplies
- Pray and discern if Jesus might be calling you to respond to his grace and love through serving in the New Castle County area in this way.
- If so, please contact one of our team leaders for more information