Jesus on Colfax

 

 

When Pastor Shawn Sikkema and his wife Diane were considering and praying about where God was calling to them next, they sensed a pull to the urban core and to those struggling with poverty. They have begun a new ministry called Jesus on Colfax and are focusing on those living in the North Aurora, East Colfax area. There are about 25 motels on Colfax east of Yosemite and most of the residents struggle with challenges of addiction, mental illness, financial crisis, past incarceration or immense family brokenness.

 

Shawn and Diane moved into the Ranger Motel where they are pastoring and simply loving their new neighbors. If you would like to read more about this ministry you can go to their website www.jesusoncolfax.org. Click on the “Journal” section to read stories of the people living there and how God is working through this ministry.

 

VIA is considering how we could potentially partner with Jesus on Colfax, possibly through sponsoring community development in those neighborhoods. We are excited to see how God is continuing to work for his kingdom purposes in this North Aurora neighborhood.

— Donn Hansum, Director

 

 

Ministry of Reconciliation

One aspect of our calling as followers of Jesus and as churches is to be transforming agents for good in our communities. We are called to be Christ’s ambassadors, joining him in reconciling and restoring all things back to him, including our communities.

 

II Corinthians 5:18-20 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors.”

 

How do we carry out this ministry of reconciliation and restoration?   VIA is highlighting some examples of how some churches are working to do this in their communities. In this issue, there are stories of how Crestview Church in Boulder is supporting a formerly homeless person in their community and how EHCC Reach Groups are connecting with their neighbors. You can also read how a new ministry, Jesus on Colfax, is working to love the people and impact the community of East Colfax in Aurora. We hope these stories might encourage you to consider how God may be calling you to engage with your community? —Donn Hansum, Director

2016 Volunteer Appreciation Brunch

We were honored this month to welcome several of our volunteers and their friends to join us for brunch to celebrate the work done through Volunteers in Action over the past year.  We enjoyed live music, delicious food, and friendly company as we were able to spend time together.  Thank you to all of our volunteers and friends for joining us in this celebration!

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Newly Selected Deacon Workshop!

If you want to know what being a deacon is all about, are wondering about your responsibilities, or want to brush up on your skills, this workshop is for you.  Come and meet other new deacons to talk about how to be effective in your new role.

Topics we will cover:

  • What being a deacon is all about.
  • Leading the church in service in this time and place.
  • Benevolence tools to help people grow and change.

What do previous attendees have to say?

  • “Covered a lot in a good period of time. Has made me excited about being a deacon.”
  •  “I will encourage the other new deacons at my church to attend the next one.”
  • “This was very insightful and helpful!”

Date: Thursday, August 25, 2016

Where: Third Christian Reformed Church

2400 S Ash St

Denver, CO 80222

When: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

RSVP: donnh@volunteersinaction.info or 303-713-9144

Serving

Beauty in Color at Canterbury Gardens

Canterbury Gardens is a low-income assisted living facility in Aurora.  Each month, the Volunteers in Action office staff visits residents at Canterbury Gardens that don’t get many visitors.  We’ve developed special relationships with these individuals, sharing in their hobbies and interests over the years.  Often at facilities like Canterbury Gardens, residents are simply seeking friendship; someone to share with, someone to listen to their life stories, someone to laugh with, someone to hold their hands and pray with them.  Joan, one of our friends at Canterbury Gardens, loves to color with bright pencils & markers, it’s very therapeutic for her.  These brightly colored pictures hang all around her residence, showing off her artistic expression.  If you have any adult style coloring books, pencils, markers, or  sharpeners, we can share them with several of the folks that we visit at Canterbury Gardens.   Please call 303-713-9144 for more information on donating art supplies for our friends, we can assure that they will be appreciated!

 

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Wanted: Wheelchairs & Shower Benches!

The VIA Durable Medical Equipment Loan Bank is receiving a significant number of requests.  We are especially in need of wheelchairs and shower seats/benches.  This is a tax deductible donation and we will get you a receipt for your donation!  A big thank you to Dave and Michelle Monsma for their many years of on-going service providing space for and distributing these items to those who need them.  If you have any of these items that you could donate, please give us a call at 303-713-9144.  Thank you!

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When Did We?

What do you say when you get frantic calls from seniors whose rent has been raised far beyond their ability to pay? What if there’s no one to turn to for immediate assistance, like a family member or a friend? This has become an epidemic in the greater Denver area as affordable housing is no longer a reality not only for low-income seniors but all low-income families. Our first inclination is to ask, “why are these people in these situations?” There are so many answers to that question and none of them seem adequate. I’m faced with Matthew 25:35-40 (you can read this passage on your own), but the prime question is, “when did we?” Of course we can’t fix all the problems, we can’t even touch the surface….BUT we do have hearts that can care and we are called to respond. A friend, Deb Butte, from Christ’s Body Ministries wrote, “I have worked with this population for over ten years now and I don’t have any grandiose solutions. In fact, I have a phrase from Mother Teresa hanging in my office, “We might not accomplish great things, but we can do small things with great love.” I think of small things like: looking people in the eye, listening without talking, asking their opinion on things, and maybe even giving an unkempt person a hug. It may not be providing for all of their basic needs, but it is a touch to the soul. And maybe, just maybe, it may make someone feel like they are actually a human being.” Isn’t that what Christ expects of us? Donn Hansum & I will be attending a forum at the History Colorado Center entitled, “Talking About the Affordable Housing Crisis: Tools for Delivering Bad News.” It won’t be fun but it should provoke thoughtful consideration on how to approach those in dire straits from caring hearts.

—Kelli Schuttinga, Volunteer Coordinator

 

Helping without Hurting in Church Benevolence by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

Helping without Hurting in Church Benevolence by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

 

There is a new book recently published which I recommend for all deacons and churches who receive requests from people needing financial assistance. Here is a short synopsis of this book from it’s back cover:

 

“Poverty is extremely complex. So is poverty alleviation. When low-income people seek help, they usually need more than just material goods; they need lasting change. This book helps you address both. When a low income person asks your church for help, what do you do? This practical toolkit contains principles for poverty alleviation in the local church context. With resources, tools and scenarios to help you apply the book, it is an all-in-one guide to the critical parts of achieving lasting change.”               —Donn Hansum, Director

 

Servants & Servanthood

VIA will be taking a serious look, throughout 2016, at what it means to be a servant. Lots of books & articles have been written on the subject but practically speaking what does it take to cultivate servanthood? VIA will be hosting a Servant’s Dinner in March. How do we incorporate a lifestyle of servanthood into our daily living? What does a Christlike servant look like? We’ll wrangle with these questions throughout the year. We encourage your input. BUT first and foremost we must go to God the Father, the Source and ask, “am I being your servant right here, right now in the midst of my daily life?” The account of Jesus washing the disciples feet in John 13 is often viewed as instituting “foot washing” but the entire scene is to teach us about love, humility & selfless service. In the culture of that day, foot washing was a menial task, but a necessary one, so typically a servant would administer the wash for guests. Since there were no servants in the upper room it was left up to the disciples themselves. Did anyone volunteer? Well, here’s the lesson….no one volunteered so Christ Jesus takes on the task in order to teach humility. Jesus is one part of the Trinity & if He was willing to get down on His knees what is that telling us? A true servant doesn’t wait to be asked, a true servant discerns a need & moves forward to complete the tasks necessary. A true servant, like Christ Jesus, is willing to serve even when rejection & criticism comes from those he is serving. Verse 17 concludes the section by telling us that when we know these things….and do them….then we are blessed, God honors servants. What a magnificent gift the Father gives if we will listen.

—Kelli Schuttinga, Volunteer Coordinator

 

Canterbury Gardens, A Home Away From Home

Everyone reading this newsletter is likely aware that VIA works mainly with low-income seniors and disabled individuals. A few months ago a new client/friend was referred to us; the client lived in a low-income assisted living facility. Upon visiting and meeting with their activities department it was determined that many of their residents didn’t have family or friends who visited; no one to advocate for them or give them a hug and say, “you are special, you are loved, you are not alone. I think of how empty and lifeless I would be if I had no one to give me a hug and tell me that I mattered to them. God says in Deuteronomy 15:11 “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” This isn’t a request from God it is a command and when God commands, I’m assuming we should be listening. VIA’s personnel has decided it is important that we commit to modeling this ourselves by maintaining a relationship with seven people at Canterbury Gardens, to visit, encourage, hug, hold their hands, pray together and be the “heart and hands” of Christ for them. These individuals have little to no discretionary funds to purchase the basic necessities like toilet paper, shampoo, toothpaste or little treasures like a notebook, tissues, a coloring book & markers, a bottle of lotion, ever so many things we take for granted. If you feel called to share of your bounty you can bring any items you’d like to the VIA office and we’ll make sure they are distributed not only to the seven that we call friends at Canterbury Gardens but also to other residents in need. Pray too that hearts will be receptive to their greatest need of all…..a SAVIOR who loves them unconditionally.