Allegheny East Members Bring Church to Men’s Shelter
Story by Taashi Rowe
It was a warm Monday evening, when the voices of the Emmanuel-Brinklow Choir could be heard rising in soul-stirring harmony at 1350 R Street, NW, Washington, D.C. Their songs of victory, encouragement and peace in God elicited multiple responses from the dozens of men attending this evening service. Some men sat quietly. Some danced. Some raised their hands heavenward. Anthony Brown cried. “I feel so much joy,” he said. “Yes, I may have just lost everything when my house burned down … but I have Jesus.”
Brown was one of the men seeking shelter at the Central Union Mission, a Christian shelter founded in 1884. Every fourth Monday of the month, members of the Allegheny East Conference’s Emmanuel-Brinklow church in Ashton, Md., bring solace and hope to the men at the shelter by participating in a chapel service.
This particular evening, the choir started with a mini-concert and Anthony Medley, the church’s pastor, shared a brief sermon on the “cave” experience. “Sometimes a man can be so deep in the cave of being homeless, the cave of being hopeless, the cave of being sick, the cave of being addicted, the cave of being forgotten about, the cave of being talked about … that only Jesus can pull you out,” Medley preached.
Ronald Allen, one of the men at the shelter, said he could identify with that cave analogy. “Crack and alcohol was my cave, but no one could help me but Jesus,” he shared.
“It meant a lot to me that [your church] came in here to minster to me,” said Derrick Jones who regularly attends a Bible study group. “Many different things bring people in here. It’s not only drugs.”
Carlos Medley, a member of the Brinklow church, coordinates this monthly experience. He is convinced that what brought the Brinklow church to this shelter could only be God’s providence. “You can’t just walk into this shelter and start ministering,” he said.
A few years ago, the church donated some 1,500 meals to the shelter and asked for other ways to minister. “But they have 30-40 churches that do this, so there were no openings,” Carlos says. “Instead we offered to do a concert and brought our praise team and our pastor. They were blessed. A few months later they invited us to come once every two months and now we come every month.”
“When God opens the door of opportunity, it is our responsibility to follow through,” he continues.
Following the service, Marquita Robinson, a member of the choir, shared how happy she was that she took the opportunity to participate. “The men were an inspiration to me,” she said. “I came here to uplift them and they uplifted my spirit.”