- Safe shelter to victims of domestic violence,
- Forensic medical exams for victims of sexual assault and human trafficking,
- Emergency shelter for homeless families
- Long term housing options for chronically homeless women.
Perhaps it was too good to last! In 2013 Christ Church built Grace Home in South Sudan to provide a loving Christian home for twenty-four children without parents. Our own Fred and Libby Dearing were there to oversee the work; and soon Grace Home was completed, staffed, and filled to capacity. Other UM churches built a similar home for twelve orphaned children. There was hope for a better future for these 36 children and indeed for the new country of South Sudan.
But fighting broke out between political factions and then greatly intensified, coming to within earshot of both homes. Last year, all the children and the staff were safely evacuated out of South Sudan and into a refugee camp in Uganda. Life in overcrowded United Nations refugee camps is hard, and we are making life as comfortable as possible for the children. We have built wooden buildings for the children to have proper shelter. We are providing nourishing food and clothing, and they are attending school. Over a year has now passed, and conditions in South Sudan are not improving, so we are preparing for the children to be in Uganda indefinitely.
Who is the “we” caring for these children? It is Fred and Libby Dearing, who travel regularly to Uganda to ensure proper care. In fact, they are there now. It is Holston Conference and other United Methodist churches that support this ministry. And it is “we” here at Christ Church. Our operating budget includes funding to pay about a third of the cost of caring for these children; and every time we give to the church, we are caring for Jesus Christ in the form of our children now in Uganda.
The children and staff of the orphanage we support in South Sudan (Grace Home) have fled violence and our now refugees in Uganda. Please pray for these children and caregivers as they strive to make the best of their situation in a UN refugee camp. Our very own, Fred & Libby Dearing are in Uganda now. Please pray that their time there is fruitful and for their safe return.
For several years now Christ Church has been sending volunteers to help work on homes for Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga Area is a locally organized and governed nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization that has been building simple, decent and affordable homes in Chattanooga, Tennessee, since 1986. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga partners with volunteers and low income families to build affordable housing. The houses are sold to these families at no profit and with no interest.They provide a hand up, not a hand out.
In 2017, Christ Church committed to supporting the first ever Chattanooga “Faith House” both financially and with volunteer support. The “Faith House” is a combination of area churches working together to build a home for a local family. This Saturday, a team of Christ Church volunteers will continue working on the “Faith House.” http://habichatt.org/.
This weekend we will have volunteers working on our Habitat for Humanity “Faith House”. Pray for the work of Habitat for Humanity, the new homeowner of the “Faith House”, Shan Melvin and her son Trey. And lastly, pray for all the volunteers that will be working on the “Faith House” in the coming weeks.
Every Monday during the school year Christ Church sends a group of volunteers to The Bethlehem Center. The Beth defines their mission as "We are God's people empowering inner-city youth and families to lead responsible lives by providing discipleship, education, and leadership development." Their after-school program helps children continue to learn, keeps them on track in school, and provides a safe environment for them. Our volunteer team facilitates an afternoon of Bible stories, crafts, and snacks with the children at the Bethlehem Center. Christ Church also provides Vacation Bible School at The Beth during the summer and hosts the children at a skating party in the spring and a Christmas party in December.
Every Monday during the school year Christ Church sends a group of volunteers to The Bethlehem Center. Our volunteer team facilitates an afternoon of Bible stories, crafts, and snacks with the children. Pray for the children that attend The Beth, that they would feel Christ’s love by our interactions with them. Pray for our weekly volunteers, that they would have the opportunity to share Christ’s love with the children.