Other than those preparing a meal, there is no one inside Family of God. The building is quiet, which seems strange. Very few people are allowed inside the mission church because of the Coronavirus and stay-at-home order. The usual dinner and Bible study are now just a dinner in a to-go box. Many Detroiters on the Southwest side wait outside the back doors to get their meals, then walk back to their homes. It is much different from the normal fellowship and camaraderie.
Many people can’t even make it to Family of God to get their dinner, so pastors Jim Hill and Tyler Cronkright came up with the idea to deliver meals to the regulars who are not able to get to the church. Armando is one of those people. He has cancer and his immune system is compromised. He stays in his home, but he doesn’t go hungry. Armando greets the Family of God team with a huge smile and yells out, “Thank you, Pastor!”
The outreach has grown to include more than the church’s Southwest neighborhood. On an early day in May, Pastor Cronkright and one of his volunteers, Sergio, make the rounds throughout Detroit. “We’ve found a couple of homeless camps where people are literally living in a tent,” says Cronkright. “One guy we know is sleeping on top of a pile of garbage.”
They travel from Corktown to Mexicantown and many other spots in Detroit. Cronkright and Sergio roll down their windows and hand out dinners to people in need on the streets. Other times they will leave dinners in a person’s chair on a street corner, knowing that they’ll be back soon. “If people can’t come to the church, it is our responsibility to take the church to the people,” Cronkright said.
For Sergio, this mission hits close to home. He was homeless for a while, but now he’s happy to be able to help pass out meals to friends and people he knows on the streets. He has become a valuable volunteer and someone Family of God relies on to keep their mission going.
The new mission and outreach have been great—over 50 boxes of food are delivered in one day. But Cronkright is not content yet. He hopes to see a day when they pass out 400-500 boxes.
Photos and video by Jeff Heisner/Michigan District, LCMS