BRIDGES Building Update Letter – These are some key God stories over the last several weeks. Together we can make a big difference! God is writing a new story for Frederick. The big goal is a unified Evangelical community serving in Jesus’ name at a one-stop-shop “life center” along with “all comers”. The Life Center would include all non-profits (evangelical or not) to help those most in needs in Frederick and the surrounding area.
The First initiative for Bridges is the Opioid crisis in Frederick which has been claiming one life per week from overdoses. Bridges Initiative #1 – Lower the opioid death/overdose rate in Frederick and surrounding counties by uniting the churches and community organizations involved, identifying the gaps and filling them.
Carol and I continue to be greatly honored to have you join us as we press forward in this call the Lord has put on our hearts to build Bridges. May the Name of Jesus be lifted up and strengthened.
· Bridges after a journalist’s divisive tone - After the National Day of Prayer Breakfast, The Frederick News Post printed an article that included three pastors of Frederick condemning the prayer breakfast: These included a Methodist Latino Pastor, a homosexually married pastor and a unitarian pastor. The Lord led to call and meet with each of them over coffee last week and this week. Each lamented the vitriolic tone that the journalist took with the article. While carefully navigating our profoundly different views of Scripture, recognizing that we preach different gospels, we committed to one another to find ways to bridge gaps to serve together in the community to help those currently affected by the opioid crisis. All with an eye to long term coordination around the aging infrastructure of the First Amendment. The journalist will be contacted next to appeal for integrity in reporting.
· Bridges between pastors - This week, a second weekly pastors Waterboyz table was started with an eye toward starting a third one. These serve to strengthen pastoral connections along with the renewed Evangelical Ministerial Fellowship. The EMF prayer breakfast, attended by 300 local saints, pastors and leaders, with special presentation by Bishop Harry Jackson, pitched new vision for racial relations in the Evangelical community.
· Bridges to Evangelical Non-profits - This week, we identified first steps with Arnold Farlow, Executive Director of Frederick Rescue Mission. Together, we identified key evangelical leaders to gather for spearheading unified efforts together. We committed to developing a draft joint mandate for Evangelical Pastors and non-profits to coalesce efforts around.
· Bridges to Evangelical Non-profits and Opioid Initiative - Last week, strategized with Frank Taurazak, Director of Crossroad’s Freedom Center, and Dr. Rosa, chiropractor for the Washington Wizards, who works with the Trump administration to develop local integrated teams for addressing health crises’ like the opioid crisis. We discussed strategy for bringing together disparate parts of the medical, religious and educational community to create an integrated “triage” team for adequately treating recovering addicts.
· Bridges Opioid Initiative - Continued to coordinate with Sheriff Jenkins to strategize and bring together the faith community in response to the opioid crisis.
· Bridges to Secular Non-profits and Opioid Initiative - For several weeks, coordinated with Elizabeth Chung’s team to raise $5000 for Bridges. Elizabeth directs the Asian American Center of Frederick that works extensively with minorities. She has an unusual effectiveness acquiring grants and has agreed to help identify and write grants to help those affected by the opioid crisis.
· Bridges of prayer - This week, Developed prayer strategy with Doug Clark, Roger Franks and pastors to facilitate prayer at key local “flash points” and organize adopt-a-street prayer teams across the county. These two have been identifying current pockets of prayer around the county.
· Bridges to Secular Non-profits - Last week, strategized with Mark Trager of Heartly House, which serves abused individuals in Frederick. Identified strategies for working together to bring religious community together with key non-profits like Heartly House. Identified barriers and opportunities to working together.
· Bridges Fundraising
o Met with Debbie Williams of Patty Pollatos Fund to acquire matching funding and develop fundraising strategy.
o Over the weekend, led a yard sale in conjunction with the Waterboyz on Saturday.
o Last week and this week, pitched Bridges vision to several key local businessmen and pastors inviting prayer and financial support. God has currently provided $17,200 of the annual $75,000 needed.
Please Pray that the death toll from the Opioid overdoses dramatically decreases in Frederick and across the nation. Pray that the Frederick community comes together to bring hope in Jesus and restoration to these broken lives.
Pray for favor, guidance, wisdom for identifying, engaging and connecting first with key evangelical leaders and secondly with non-Christian religious leaders and community leaders. The Lord is leading us to build unity from the evangelical community outward to eventually serve the unity of the whole community. Unity in the evangelical community means the centrality of Jesus and the gospel and we serve the lost together. Unity in the rest of the community means strengthening the aging and broken infrastructure of the First Amendment across other religious and secular groups. We will fight for their right to worship according to their conscience knowing that what a man truly desires is unfailing love of God in Christ.
Pray for the language and wisdom while developing an Evangelical Mandate for working together.
Pray for the development of the Board of Advisors for Bridges.
Pray for Web help for the prayfrederick website, who can work under the leadership of Roger Franks and Doug Clarke. And pray for intercessors to respond across the county.
Bridges is a subsidiary of Waterboyz for Jesus, which provides financial oversight. Make any checks payable to Waterboyz. www.bridgesconnected.org