Thursday, June 28, 2007

'Jesus Was a Homeless Bum'

"Something awful happened in Bible Study yesterday.
We were looking at a passage from Luke [9:57-62]. People said they wanted to follow Jesus but they all had reasons why they couldn't do it right then. I think Ali Robinson, our Study Leader, was hoping to inspire us to deeper levels of commitment. I was sitting next to her and I saw where she'd written that across the top of her page. It was underlined three times.
As per usual, we went round the group sharing our first response to the passage, and that's when all heck broke out. I said I'd never realized before that Jesus was a homeless bum. Well, it says it right there in the scripture, Sis! 'Foxes have holes... but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'"

Read the rest of the Wittenburg Door article...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Philly Ministry Affected By Fire

Hi all!
We just became aware that The Simple Way, a Philadelphia-based ministry, has just been severely affected by a tragic fire. Below is a description of the challenges they now face and a link to their blog. Please pray for this dynamic ministry as they try and rebuild.

"This morning, a 7-alarm fire consumed an abandoned warehouse in our Kensington neighborhood in Philadelphia. The Simple Way Community Center at 3200 Potter Street was destroyed as well as at least eight of our neighbors' homes. Over 100 people were evacuated from their homes, and 400 families are currently without power. Despite this developing tragedy, we are incredibly thankful to share that all of our community members and every one of our neighbors is safely out of harm's way.

This fire will forever change the fabric of our community. Eight families are currently homeless, and in many cases have lost their vehicles as well as their homes. One of our neighbors, the Mahaias Family, lost their three cars as well as the equipment one family member uses for her massage therapy business. Teenager Brian Mahaias is devastated not because he has lost his belongings, but because he fears that this fire will force him to move away from this neighborhood that is his family as well as his home.

The Simple Way has lost a community center that was home to our Yes! And… afterschool program, community arts center, and Cottage Printworks t-shirt micro-business as well as to two of our community members. Community members Shane Claiborne and Jesce Walz have lost all of their belongings, Yes!And…'s after school studio and library were ruined, and community member Justin Donner's Cottage Printworks equipment and t-shirts were destroyed.

We are thankful that we are able to help each other during this time of need, and we will continue to keep your informed about today's events.

We have established funds to support the families who have lost their homes, the Yes! And… afterschool program, and the Simple Way community.

A fund to support the families has been established through a partner organization, EAPE. Tax-deductible donations can be made at . Please make sure to put "Kensington Families Fund" in the memo section.

Donations to the Rebuilding Fund can be made via PayPal to

-The Simple Way Community"

Monday, June 18, 2007

CSM Toronto Update

My second week of official hosting was with a group from Michigan. They came from a small farming community and I was able to help them experience driving in the big city. Our ministry site for the week was Church of The Redeemer, a soup kitchen based out of a church. It is a challenging site because the point person changes each day and they all have very different ways of getting things done. However, we were able to enjoy each new point person and adjust fairly easily.
Halfway through the week we divided our team and half of us went to the Good Shepherd Centre. They were short-staffed and needed our help making the beds for their shelter each day. I was very excited because it is one of my favourite ministry sites. It was particularly good because it allowed for the students to engage in conversation with the clients at the drop-in breakfast they serve. Each day I was able to watch as the students opened up more to those less-fortunate than themselves.
On our last day we participated in “Operation Hydration” which is an activity where the students take a case of water and distribute it to people in the community. Dehydration is a serious threat during the summer months and we try to provide it to anyone in need while striking up conversations with them. One of the parks we were visiting was having an Art Show in support of local artists who use a nearby church facility to practice their skill. We were able to spend time connecting with the artists themselves and they made amazing bargains with us for their work. It was great to watch the kindness of the artists and our team members. They were truly impacted by the people they met.
Another day our team had the chance to go out and meet the needs of someone on the streets during our “$2 of Kindness” ministry. My group came across a man without any shoes on a blistering hot day and was able to provide a man with a pair of shoes for his feet. Others were able to buy socks, cold drinks and even small groceries.
CSM Toronto has been quite the experience so far and it is so rewarding to watch as each group comes in and experiences similar situations in different ways. God is constantly changing circumstances around me and I love being able to watch the process.

-Robin, CSM Toronto Summer 2007 City Host

Friday, June 15, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Aylmer Group Impacts Toronto

This week I had the privilege of hosting a group of 8 from Aylmer Ontario. They were such an amazing group. We served at the Church of Redeemer every morning where we served meals to the homeless and also got to play some cards with them. We passed out water bottles in one of the local parks and took time to hear some of the people's stories. We played Bingo at the Fudger House, which is a long term care facility. We also passed out sandwiches to people sleeping on the streets and spent an evening learning what it was like to be 14 and on the streets. They also took an ethnic plunge into Chinatown where they experienced a new culture. The group learned a lot this week. Their eyes were opened to the world around them. They saw God in unlikely places and realized that sometimes just taking the time to hear someone's story can change both their lives and the lives of those they listen to. They came up with practical ways they can continue their service back home. They each have great hearts of God! I learned so much just by seeing how well they served and how God moved in their lives and changed them throughout the week!

-Mandie Cantrell, CSM Toronto 2007 City Host

Friday, June 08, 2007

Learning to Fly - A Junior High Trip to LA

On April 1st San Marino Community Church's junior high group headed to downtown Los Angeles for a mission trip. It was a tiny group--only 4 junior-highers and 3 adult chaperons. We partnered with Center for Student Missions (LA). CSM gave us a tour guide who led us around LA to different ministry sites.

Read about San Marino's Los Angeles adventure...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Our City Hosts, trip participants and even youth leaders constantly return home from a CSM trip and their heads are reeling with all that they experienced. As they process through the people they met, the sights, the noises, the tastes and the smells of the city, our hope is that they grasp onto the fact that they are forever changed. We make a point to teach every single person that comes through the doors of CSM that God is working in the city and He has a place for you - whether it be this one weekend with us or a lifetime of service.
Take a moment to read one of our Spring City Host's reflection on the time he spent with us in Los Angeles. Ben does a wonderful job processing all that he experienced and we are truly grateful for the time he dedicated to serving with us.