I’ve probably been guilty of all the relationship-wrecking behaviors that I’ve occasionally seen in others.  When hurt, slighted or offended, we want the offenders to get their “just deserts.”  We want to be right.  Maybe we just want what’s fair, for ourselves or for others. We think we want justice. In either case, we might believe we need to fight to protect ourselves from hurt and to get what we think we or another needs or deserves.

I’ve learned that justice is more about restoring God’s order. It’s about relationships more than economics or legalities. If our relationships are in right order, justice will follow, legally, economically, and morally. Instead of defending ourselves against hurt or lack, we can be thankful for all we have received. When we know we are cared for, we can seek good for others.

If we are in right relationship with others, we will act out of love, above fairness. How can we love someone and allow them to starve while we feast?  If we view our money and possessions as good gifts from God, then we are stewards of them for God. How does He want us to use them? If we see injustice in our economic system, the poor becoming poorer, how can we work to reverse that process? What can we do to make it easier for someone who has less?

I think God’s justice is in partnership with mercy. God does not want us to hurt each other, nor to be hurt ourselves. Vengeance does not really make us feel better, but reconciliation does. Yes, those who do wrong should stop hurting others and they should make the wrong right in whatever way they can, giving back what was taken and repairing the hurt. And those who have been hurt should allow the relationship to be restored if possible and so become free of bitterness and anger, whether apologies, changed behavior and recompense happen or not.

God does not pretend that we have never done anything wrong or that there are not consequences for wrongdoing. But He moves beyond that, not to punishment but to restoring right relationships.  His justice is a saving justice – a resurrection from a death. As we die to old ways of life and rise to new ones with Him, we move to a relationship where love rules. That takes precedence over right and wrong or getting what is fair. God loves us enough to set us free!

I would like to suggest that this is what we are doing in the Community of Hope. The need for good jobs and affordable housing in our community is great! Some people who lack stable housing have made bad decisions.  Some have never learned better. We can bemoan the disparity of income or think some are less deserving of help, or we can choose to work at restoring relationships. We can give today, financially or with our time, to offer help to a few families at a time to restore relationships. We can make it possible for them to have a place to stay while they gain skills to have more long-term stability. If we see that others have made decisions that caused them to struggle right now, we can help people gain new skills to support them in making good decisions while loving them as they are continuing their journey. Most of all, we offer true freedom of God’s love in concrete ways and seek His healing care for all of us. None of us can make everything right ourselves, but each of us can make some small effort to move the balance toward more healing, equality, and right relationships when we partner with God. Join us in working for justice, one family at a time.

Fundraiser Breakfast

We had a great time at the breakfast last week! We enjoyed the excellent food, good company, and Roosevelt principal Charlene William’s inspirational talk!



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Thank You

Thanks so all the community members that helped to make this event successful!

The Charles Jordan Community Center did a great job of serving us! We couldn’t have asked for better support!

Megan Boaglio created the video.

The following businesses and organizations helped us create a beautiful space and great foods to enjoy!

new seasons

262214_179962275393832_5351389_nJamie Hicks, Interior Design, Commercial and Residential did our beautiful decorations.

Kassenboom Nursery helped make our space beautiful with many plants and bushes.

New Seasons provided cut flowers.

rcc_2013_0418St Johns Ace Logo3Ace Hardware donated the pots for them.

Members of Rivergate Community Church catered the meal.

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People of Praise Christian Community and Preserve and Serve lent us linens and dishes.

Water Bottle Sandals

water bottle sandals

I got this picture as I was starting to work at the Community of Hope, a friend sent me this picture. It symbolizes for me the resiliency of people who have limited resources, but use what they have in creative ways. Here, a person made sandals out of something most of us would consider trash. How can we look for things in our environments that will help us meet our goals as this person used trash to protect his or her feet?

Sugar Rush Was a Success!

Sugar Rush was a wonderful time to promote Community of Hope! It was a great kick off for the ongoing support of the Community of Hope. The community came together to learn more about who we are and what we are all about and built relationships among those who will support our residents! Here are some pictures from the event!

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Cathe Weise of My Father’s House shared her experience of reaching out to families in ways similar to what the Community of Hope will do. She emphasized that they help families take responsibility for themselves, not doing for them anything they can do for themselves.  This support and encouragement helps enable a large percentage of them to overcome the barriers that they have to providing stable homes for their children. Her stories of the relationships she built with the families they serve touched her listeners. The gift of forming loving relationships is a blessing to every volunteer there.

Pastor Kelly Cohoe shared his story of learning the needs of his congregation when he asked them what they would like to hear him preach about. He was amazed to hear that one in four families were more concerned about their housing than theological issues. The passage from Isaiah 58:6-9 came alive for him as he saw the need to share genuine love with his brothers and sisters that were poor. He gave a brief history of the Community of Hope and explained what we are planning to do. Kelly ended with a story of a family in his congregation that came to him last week that is being evicted and has not place to go. Seeing his heart, broken in concern for this family and every family who does not have a place to go, moved the hearts of his listeners too. Those that attended made generous commitments to support us both financially and by volunteering. Some gave out of the little they had and others were able to make monthly pledges that will support the ongoing work of the Community of Hope. All were able to volunteer to help in some way to support the families we will serve. Because of their dedication, lives will be changed!

When these things are in place, we can open for our first residential community and begin to address the needs of the many homeless families in North Portland, a few at a time.

Thank you to our community sponsors! Trinity Academy provided child care, St. John’s Starbucks provided the coffee, and many local businesses and churches provided our extravagant desserts!

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