Flint is a big city with real systemic issues. Within the past decade there has been some urban renewal, but that hasn’t reached the east side, which is still a rough neighborhood with food deserts, poverty, gun violence, sex trafficking, etc. How can the body of Christ lift up the cross and proclaim Christ to those who are in need in this setting? What does it mean to feed the hungry? What does it mean to love and care for people whose entire self-esteem has been destroyed by trafficking? What does it mean to share Christ in these situations? That’s the current reality of Flint mission work.
On Sunday, October 31, a big celebration took place at Our Savior Lutheran Church, on the north side of Flint: it was the public launch of the Flint Mission Network, an umbrella-type organization that encompasses four core ministries taking place in Flint: Franklin Avenue Mission, Mercy House, and The Luke Clinic on the east side, and York Avenue Mission on the north side.
Franklin Avenue Mission (FAM) has been around for 6 years. Powered by volunteers from many Michigan District congregations, it serves meals twice a week and distributes personal care products, besides providing spiritual care and building the body of Christ in that neighborhood. On the dock for 2022 are a new laundromat and shower facility, as well as a daycare/preschool.
On the same campus and in partnership with FAM, Wellspring Lutheran Services operates Mercy House, a transitional home for mothers and their children who have struggled with homelessness. Wellspring’s case workers help these mothers with whatever they need to get to that next step, whether it’s vocational training, parenting skills, cooking skills, finding daycare, finishing their GED, etc. They also offer custodial training to help people apply for jobs and learn skills that will help them find and sustain a job.
The Luke Clinic (opening on November 10) is also located on the FAM campus and is fully equipped to provide prenatal and infant care to mothers and babies who are uninsured. Click here to see a video that shows what they do.
York Avenue Mission, housed at Our Savior in Flint, has a food pantry program and recently inherited Franklin Avenue Mission’s clothes closet.
Click here to listen to a podcast where Michigan District’s Jeff Heisner interviews Rev. Christian Jones, director of Flint Mission Network, and Rachel Siemen, assistant director of Flint Mission Network.
All of these ministries need volunteers to keep running smoothly. Find more about the ministries and volunteer opportunities at flintmissionnetwork.org.
Photos by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS