THE CROSSING Free Methodist Church and the Light of Faith Fellowship have partnered in an effort to open a homeless shelter in the city of Durand. The two Durand churches formed a partnership in 2016 to address the needs of the local homeless population, distributing sleeping bags in 2016 and essential supplies in 2017.
The two churches have now teamed up to turn the parsonage at The Crossing Free Methodist Church into “The House of Hope,” a short-term, emergency homeless shelter. The shelter will house one individual or family at a time, on a temporary basis.
“We have been partnering with the Light of Faith Fellowship since 2016, so this is a natural partnership,” explained Lisa Lahring, the pastor of The Crossing Free Methodist Church. “There is need for a homeless shelter in the Durand area, for people in between homes or on their way to securing housing. We want this to be a place where they can have hope. A number of local churches and civic organizations have already pledged their support, and I know the community will support us in making The House of Hope a reality.”
Pastor Lisa, church members John and Dena Woolpert, and Light of Faith Fellowship Pastor Don and Debbie White were inspired in the spring of 2018 to open the city’s first homeless shelter. The group recognized the need for temporary housing in the area, and they were inspired by John Woolpert, who turned his life around after meeting Pastor Lisa in 2017.
Woolpert was homeless when he met Pastor Lisa; his situation brought on by a medical issue and exacerbated by delays in receiving disability benefits. First, John lost his home, so he lived in his truck. After he could no longer afford his truck, John was left with no roof over his head and nowhere to turn, until Pastor Lisa helped him work through his issues and get back on his feet. Less than two years later and John is now overseeing the House of Hope project.
Woolpert and other church members have already started renovations. The walls have been painted and Woolpert reports that repairing the floors is next on his list. Volunteers are needed to assist in the renovations, especially experienced plumbers and electricians, and the group is hoping the community will help them raise enough money to fix up the parsonage.
The project’s organizers estimate they need to raise $5,000 to finish repairs and open the home, and they are also open to donations of needed building materials. Monetary donations can be made online, at www.durandfreemethodist.org, or by contacting Pastor Lisa at (810) 597-7803. The Crossing Free Methodist Church is located at 708 S. Oak St. in Durand, and the Light of Faith Fellowship is located at 405 S. Oak St. in Durand.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)