Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. (Matthew 25:34-36)
A missionary Orthodox Christian church community in SW Detroit, MI.
We provide a setting for missionaries to grow together in Christian Discipleship as we serve our neighbors in need. Our parish is partnered with Orthodox Detroit Outreach bringing together dozens of Orthodox Christian parishes in the greater Detroit area to serve our neighbors in SW Detroit.
Our churches are becoming increasingly mission-minded, sending teams to serve here in America and throughout the world. Our youth are increasingly involved in inter-Orthodox outreach programs with the poor in the inner cities. Organized cooperation in these ministries empowers us to serve more effectively, as we see with the good work of IOCC, OCMC, FOCUS etc.
Faithful Christians of all ages realize that we are most complete, most joyful, find the greatest meaning in life, when we cross that threshold into lives of sacrificial love; when we take up our cross daily and are becoming more like Christ. In simple terms, we hope that our lives are making a difference—even in small ways to help make the world a better place.
The inner-city ministry adopts a model of the parish/church community purposefully wed to the outreach ministries in the immediate neighborhood. This assumes a church purposely planted in the inner city, or a repurposed existing congregation which then provides the Orthodox in the greater urban area an opportunity to “plant” and support an Urban Mission among the poor.
In either case, the “ecclesia,” the gathering together of the faithful mission congregation, carries an added dynamic and a wonderful dimension.
The inner city Mission Church has the same core vision as all Orthodox Churches. We are called together to participate in the divine life through the Sacramental & Liturgical life of the Church; we grow in our understanding of the Faith through Pastoral preaching, and teaching ; we learn to take up our cross daily and follow Christ through the living tradition of our disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We seek our salvation through repentance and reconciliation.
The inner city Mission Church has an added dynamic and wonderful dimension. It provides opportunity for Orthodox Christians to mature in their faith and love, to become more Christ like in sacrificial love through their focused mission to build Christ-centered community in the midst of poverty. From the kenosis (self-emptying love) of Christ’s Birth in the cave, through His ministry “having no place to lay His head” Jesus, the Son of Man, identified with the poor and was found in their midst.
The core vision of the inner city mission is to build up a strong Orthodox Christian Ethos as the environment and witness of our Faith, while serving our neighbors in need. St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom built church communities after this same model-in the inner cities in the midst of poverty. Over the centuries this model has helped Orthodox faithful to find salvation through communally serving Christ in the poor.
For over eight years the congregation at Saints. Peter and Paul Cathedral (Gilbert Street, Detroit, MI) has graciously provided their community center for ongoing ministry with the poor in their neighborhood. The Orthodox Christian community from the Greater Detroit area has consistently volunteered to prepare and serve a weekly Sunday meal to those in need. For the past three years, providing a time for prayer, fellowship and meal, we have served over 10,000 meals. Through the generous support of surrounding Orthodox churches, we continue to provide food, clothing, hygiene kits, etc., as we are able..
Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral parish is home to the neighborhood Head Start program, which provides help to our neighbors during the week, a community center and hall where weekly ministries take place, and a beautiful Community Garden dedicated to the Holy Angels. Many local Detroit organizations are networking with our programs and facilities.
In dialogue with our local clergy and hierarchs, we discern that the Holy Spirit is blessing and guiding this work, increasing much good fruit in this fledgling Mission field in inner city Detroit. Together we affirm our need to take another step forward.
WHAT CAN I DO?
We call on our faithful to help us expand the inner-city Mission at Saints Peter and Paul, taking this next important step for the glory of God and the good of our neighbors.
We call on our congregations to help revitalize the parish and help by offering of your time and talents to the work with the poor.
First and foremost, PRAY FOR US! Remember us in your Liturgies, and those whom we are serving.
1) We encourage our local parishes to organize a “Sunday Mission Team” to come to worship and pray with us on a Sunday for Liturgy and to prepare and serve the Sunday meal for our neighbors at 2 PM. This would be an excellent time for a parish to become better acquainted with our mission setting and for individuals/families to discern if this is a good fit for them.
We ask that your mission team organize this through your parish priest, who will coordinate with Fr. Paul at Sts. Peter & Paul.
2) We encourage our parishes to dedicate the coming year to raise awareness and support for our Detroit inner city Mission. Philanthropic donations can be raised and offered to the Sts. Peter and Paul Missions fund. Invite someone from the Mission Team to come and share the vision and work with your congregation
3) Get more involved with the missionary work through Orthodox Detroit Outreach ministries in SW Detroit. This will be an important way to better understand the scope of this ministry and its exciting and dynamic potentials.
4) Discern your calling to be a Missionary for one year at our inner city Mission. Perhaps God is calling you to take a further step: to go on mission for one year. Your process of discerning a calling to this mission would include:
a) Prayerfully offering this up to God.
b) Talking with your Priest/Pastor, seeking his blessing and the blessing to be sent by your congregation.
c) Talking with Fr. Paul at the Mission.
d) Attend Mission orientation & training session(s).
e) Be blessed at end of Liturgy in your home parish and be “sent” for a year as Missionaries
A missionary would remain a member of his/her home parish, but whole heartedly commit one year towards the revitalization of the Sts. Peter and Paul community and its Missionary ministries. He or she would make a commitment to be active for Sunday Liturgies, Feast Days, help with the outreach ministries, and other stewardship offerings of time and talents. He will serve as a “mission ambassador” to his home parish, reporting on the activities for which they are praying.
Interested? Contact Fr. Paul Albert at firstname.lastname@example.org 419-944-3995 forward.