Thursday, December 10, 2009

Henry's church, Henry and Mitch's Story

One Church, One Story - The Detroit Blog -

This is the church just down the street from where I live. When my friend, John, told me about the story of this church over a month ago, we were compelled to at least make a visit. John actually knew about the church a while back when Mitch Albom first wrote about it nationally in Sports Illustrated. The story in SI ran back on January 7, 2009.

John and I went for a visit on a Thursday night sometime in late October/early November. We went in and found that they were sheltering people that night, and we spoke with some of the helpers at the church. Then we met Henry, the pastor, only briefly as he was busy at the moment checking with people at the time. Before John and I entered in, someone at the door asked if we were with the press. I could see why he might have thought that, because we were two young white college looking kids that don't attend the church.

We soon found out why were asked if we were the press. As we were standing in an entrance way waiting to talk to Henry, in walks Mitch Albom. John had no idea what he looked like apparently cause I had to point out that the guy who just walked in was the guy who wrote the story that brought us here in the first place. I remembered Mr. Albom from the sports reporters on ESPN that airs Sunday mornings, thanks to the many times I would wake up late for Sunday school. We talked with Henry and Mitch a little, and then the press guy did come in who was there to interview Mitch. John and I talked with Henry more about the needs of his church and the homeless barbecues that we assist with.

What impressed me though was that Mitch didn't write the SI piece to get attention or create some emotional story for a national audience to read about Detroit. He was there at the church on a random fall night months after the article printed. He is actually friends with Henry as we could tell from the short time we were together that night. It's as if Mitch was drawn to the impossibility that the church overcomes.

I think that what happens when Christ is lived out, people notice. Many will not understand and actually hate what Christ's church does. Some will not understand it but become very fascinated by it. Still others will be drawn to it, even from different religions and backgrounds (Mitch is Jewish). Needless to say, when the body of Christ is doing Christ's work by helping those who are oppressed, poor, widowed, or orphaned, people have no choice but to notice, especially when Christ works with a hole in the roof.

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