“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – EPHESIANS 2:10
Motivated by God’s loving and redemptive grace and mercy to us and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we mobilize our congregation to reach out with the heart of Christ to our church families and to our community with the bold proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in works of mercy and justice. As God’s hands and feet, we facilitate our congregation’s ministry to felt needs both within and outside of the Knox family in the context of relationship, with a view to addressing the ultimate need that we all share for the saving grace found only through faith in Jesus Christ.
As deacons, we rejoice to see Christian mercy and justice practiced among us for the following reasons:
- They are unreserved expressions of the gospel of Christ
- They are local, enabling us to get right into ministry, participating as we are drawn
- They draw on a wide range of individual gifts across the Knox family
- They permit us to be relational in our mercy and justice
- They encourage mercy as a way of life
Our mercy ministry
For those struggling with financial, relational, personal and/or spiritual difficulties, we offer confidential assistance to assess their needs and work with them to resolve the crisis and develop a sustainable solution as needed. If their needs are beyond our ability and experience, we provide referrals to experienced and trusted counselors.
Leading Knox in ministries of justice in our community
A ministry of justice seeks a deeper relief from persistent afflictions that keep people from dignified participation in community. Our justice ministry focuses on three areas by supporting Christian organizations in our community that care directly for our needy neighbors:
- At the beginning of life, young mothers in crisis pregnancies are in need of gospel mercy to support them in caring for their children and themselves; their unborn children are in need of gospel justice in the face of possible abortion. Family Life Services is a Christian agency in Ypsilanti, encouraging young mothers in crisis pregnancies to choose life, and then supporting them as they encounter the challenges that this choice can bring.
- Throughout life, poor children and adults are in need of gospel mercy of food, shelter, clothing, medical care and dental care. These provisions can also be gospel justice when they enable people to gain life-functionality and break out of the oppressive cycle of poverty. Hope Clinic is a Christian agency in Ypsilanti that provides free medical and dental care to uninsured children, adults and families as well as free meals; it also operates a food pantry, a free-use laundry room, and a “care-and-share” closet providing basic daily necessities. The Staples Family Center, operated by the Salvation Army, provides short-term emergency shelter, meals, and support groups (employment, substance abuse) for the homeless. The Center provides counseling to help residents develop life skills and address issues that have sabotaged permanent housing in the past. Knox partners with Friends in Deed, an interfaith organization, to respond to unmet needs of low-income Washtenaw County residents.
- At the end of life, our elderly are often denied dignified participation in community, either in nursing homes or as shut-ins; their isolation calls for gospel justice and mercy. The Villa at Parkridge (formerly Bortz Nursing Home) in Ypsilanti is a nursing home that welcomes Christian care and fellowship for their elderly residents. Many of their residents are without families or have limited means. We at Knox have the opportunity to bring Christian fellowship to these residents who otherwise cannot experience it, through group visits on Tuesdays, including prayer, song, scripture reading and fellowship, and one-on-one relationships with residents.
Opportunities for service
We welcome Knox folks to participate in ministries of mercy and justice in the following ways:
- Contribute to the deacon fund, which is used to provide temporary relief to those experiencing deep financial difficulties: write a check, payable to Knox with “Deacon fund” on the memo line, and place it in the offering plate or drop it off at the church office. Envelopes for this purpose are available in the pew racks and at the Welcome Center.
- Donate items during seasonal drives: backpacks with school supplies at the start of the school year, food baskets at Thanksgiving, Tree of Hope Christmas gifts for families in need, and household supplies for those graduating from the Staples Center homeless shelter all year round.
- Join a core group to provide evening child care once a month at the Staples Center so that adult residents can attend a mandatory weekly house meeting.
- Join deacons to lead weekly informal worship and interact personally with the elderly at Bortz residence.
- Donate non-perishable food and personal hygiene items to the collection baskets in the Knox atrium for Hope Center’s food pantry
- Are you a doctor or dentist? Volunteer your services at Hope Center’s clinics.
- Donate diapers and gently used maternity, baby clothes or furniture to Family Life Services.
- Volunteer to deliver free furniture from Friends in Deed to those in need.