Explore ways to best serve the poor, and maximize the use of our buildings in service to others downtown throughout the week, which could include
a. Developing a subsidized preschool, day care center, or after school program for the poor and those on the margins in downtown
b. Building bridges to downtown businesses, residents, and the arts community
June 2019 Update
While no team has been formed to address this initiative overall, the 20/20 team has monitored the church’s holding to the values that the initiative is based on. As mentioned in previous updates, we continue to offer our facilities for ministry, such as folks dealing with addiction (AA), families struggling with mental health issues, and teen mothers (YoungLives). We maintain an active calendar of hosting other groups in the community. The Facilities and Finance Committee regularly considers requests for this purpose, and in the past two years alone 29 groups have used our facilities.
This past winter we expanded on our commitment to the emergency overflow shelter in our Fellowship Hall during the winter months. With the loss of the prior check-in site for all the emergency shelters, First Presbyterian agreed to provide that location for this season. From December 1 through March 31, we hosted the central check-in either in B-100 or in the Worship Center lobby.
August 2018 Update
In August 2018, the 20/20 Team agreed to delete the word “working” from the initiative so as not to imply that employment was necessary and to avoid excluding individuals that meet the category of “poor.” The update for this initiative is split for sake of clarity, but we are clear that we also want the two points to merge so that our buildings serve others.
The Downtown, Outreach & Evangelism, and Missions Committees have continued to explore how to participate (and equip all Covenant Partners to participate) in God’s mission of announcing and demonstrating the Kingdom of Christ which brings reconciliation and redemption, particularly to the poor and oppressed. Our current developmental focus includes maintaining a Gospel-centered mission strategy expressed in the church’s engagement with Winston-Salem and the committees’ organizational goals and structure.
The Downtown Committee and Justice in Jesus class are committed to the pursuit of Biblical Justice, especially with regard to the racial divisions in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Their efforts include deliberate education as well as strategic financial and volunteer support of partner organizations in the community. In cooperation with the Mission Committee, two new partnerships with African-American led organizations have recently been formed:
- The Harvest Market Co-Op Grocery, a project SHARE Cooperative, in support of their efforts towards food equity and racial reconciliation (www.share-ws.coop)
- Guiding Institute for Developmental Education (GIDE), in support of their after school and summer enrichment program at the Cleveland Avenue Housing Community (www.Guidinginstitute.org)
First Presbyterian Church is an active presence at Cook Elementary School, serving under the direction of the school administration, in order to engage neighboring families and children facing cyclical poverty.
In addition to providing all of the volunteers at Samaritan Ministries during the month of December, First Presbyterian Church continues to host an overflow shelter during the months of January, February, and March. Through the efforts of City with Dwellings along with hundreds of volunteers from First Presbyterian and several partner organizations, our shelter is an integral part of a community-wide effort to end homelessness in Winston-Salem.
Maximizing the Use of our Building for downtown neighbors
Over the past year, we have opened our facility to our downtown neighbors. Examples include:
- Magufulika Gospel Talent Show
- Cook Elementary Graduation
- JOY International’s Barefoot Mile
- Salvation Army’s Shred-It Fundraiser
- Alcoholics Anonymous (weekly)
- Bi-Polar support group (weekly)
- The Minister’s Conference
- Young Lives (twice a month)
In addition, this initiative is vitally attached to the developing Facility Master Plan (see initiative #9). Specifically, we are exploring (i) what existing organizations need and (ii) what existing organizations believe are needed to serve the poor and homeless.
To that end, there are plans to bring together Chuck Spong (Director of Love Out Loud), the 20/20 Team, the Downtown Committee, Facility Planning team members, and others with a passion and expertise for serving the poor to brainstorm ideas of how our Facility Master Plan can best serve our neighbors, one of core commitments.
January 2018 Update
This committee continues to focus on connecting with other activities and organizations throughout the city, particularly focusing on homelessness
- We continue to operate an overflow homeless shelter in the winter
- We are studying alternative uses of our space to support the community
- The Downtown Committee has connected with other organizations in town, including Love Out Loud, to listen for God’s leading in this initiative