Inside Out 222: Urban Ministry

10.19.11 | Martha Manikas-Foster

Maybe cities scare you, and maybe you avoid them. But maybe you shouldn’t.

“I’m compelled by the Matthew 25 story,” Dr. Charles Massey says in this Inside Out recording of our conversation on inner city ministry. “It seems to me that those who were blessed and those who were sent into darkness . . . had everything to do with the way they treated the least. It was focused on what they did for providing for food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, welcome for the stranger . . . clothes for the naked---these compassion ministries that I think, all too often, we tend to think of those as optional.”

People in need live everywhere, not only in our nation’s inner cities. But Massey, a professor at western New York’s Houghton College and the coordinator for its Office of Urban Connections, points out “the vast majority of the ‘least of these’ are concentrated in cities. . . . And if we are going to reach out to them, we have to be willing to come in an engage.”

Though a rural college, Houghton has been sending students and recent graduates into inner city Buffalo for over a decade, currently sponsoring its second cohort of graduates to serve in conjunction with the Western New York branch of AmeriCorps as the Wesley Service Corps. Members care for people who are ill and abused, clean local waterways, teach in-school and after-school programs and serve the people of the city in a host of other ways.  

Why do they think this is central to the spirit and teaching of Jesus? Click on “listen” to join us for this conversation with Chuck Massey and current Wesley Service Corps member Audrey Gillette.

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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.

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