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On the Agenda

Every Day

4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Our House is open

85 Grand Street


M & W at Noon and 

Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. 


85 Grand Street



1:30 p.m.

Weekly worship

85 Grand Street


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     A big thank you to folks who have already risen to the challenge to match a $3,000 grant from Ecclesia Missions in support of Our House. That said, we still have $2,600 to raise in the next 24 days if we're going to match that grant.
   As you know, we're on our own, doing our best to run the center which is open every single day of the year offering hope and hospitality to some wonderful friends who've found themselves down and out. Although we continue to develop a network of supporters who regularly donate food and clothing and all sorts of supplies, we also need money. We've got a full-time employee who has dedicated herself to doing whatever it takes to help our guests succeed in their effort to get back on their feet. Leslie earns a salary so that she can afford to do what she does best - direct ministry to people who've fallen through the cracks in a broken "system." We also need money for more mundane things like telephone and utility bills, insurance, repairs, and the like.
   Terri Orzakowski founder of Our Lady of Comfort, a women's homeless shelter which is now Ecclesia House, was fond of saying, "The Lord will provide." We know that's true. We've experienced that truth more times than we can count. We also know that God works - God provides - through people.
   If you've got an extra $10 or $10,000, please send it our way. You can do that by clicking on the "Donate Now" link up there to your left. Or you can send it to us at 85 Grand Street, Newburgh 12550.
Talking re-entry; doing re-entry
   The New Jim Crow conversation continued Thursday evening when about 50 of us gathered to talk about building a coalition of organizations that will serve citizens returning home from prison. Telling us their stories and helping us brainstorm were (left to right) Julio Medina, founder of Exodus Transitional Community; Ms. Pearl  Peterson, director of Ossining's Breaking the Chains of the Past; Hans Hallundbaek, Hudson River Presbytery's Prison Partnership Coordinator, Johnny Conyers, Exodus, and J. Lewis, prison chaplain and pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church.
   In our discussion, we talked about the need to serve the whole person, building community on a foundation of faith, offering mentoring, advocacy, life-skills training and tending to the special needs of women as well as persons with mental health concerns. Rev. Lewis will coordinate a mentor training program which is offered through the NYS Department of Corrections.
  Sound interesting? Then join us. The working group will meet from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, June 19th here at the Hope Center, 85 Grand Street.   
Endings, beginnings, belongings
  "What are you doing in Newburgh, Steve," asked the kind-hearted woman I'd known for a good 50 years. Although she knew about my call to ministry and seminary and all that stuff, it was the one thing that didn't make sense. "It's a city and it's dirty and there's crime . . .." 
   I'm not the mayor of the chamber of commerce or one of the many, many members of Newburgh Boosters Club so I didn't talk about all the wonderful things that are happening here. And, I didn't tell her how "alive" this city is and how it's a city of contrasts where I can walk down the street and meet some of the most interesting folks I've ever encountered. I just told her, "That's where I belong." There's not much else you can say to a person who thinks that a gated community on Hilton Head Island is the place to be. . . and, for some, it is.
   In addition about being the truth for me, at least for the time being, "That's where I belong" is the name of a favorite Paul Simon tune. It starts this way:

Somewhere in a burst of glory

Sound becomes a song

I'm bound to tell a story

That's where I belong

   Being bound to tell a story, is the focus of next Sunday's gospel reading - Matthew 28:16-20. In Matthew's account of the resurrection, the 11 disciples followed Mary's instructions, dropped everything and headed for Galilee where they met Jesus on a mountaintop. It didn't matter if they were filled with doubts or totally hooked on Jesus, he gave them all the same job. As the Message version puts it, he told them all to "Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life . . ."

   Their ending is our beginning. We're equally bound to tell a very special story with our lives even more than our words. It doesn't matter if it's in a place like the Burgh or in a gated community. So, that gives me reason to pause and ask - Where do you belong? 

Thank you for being.


The Rev. Steve Ruelke

Ecclesia Ministries of Newburgh

P: 845-527-0405

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