Breakfast can be more than just pancakes and sausage. That’s what a dedicated group of Disciples men proved at the 2009 General Assembly. Almost 100 Disciples men crowded into a small basement dining hall at historic Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis on Thursday, July 30 to accomplish two things: enjoy a pancake meal while supporting four cash-strapped mission centers.
The gathering, called “Disciples Men Cookin’ for Mission” was coordinated by the Office of Disciples Men of Disciples Home Mission. Each participant paid $10 for the meal. Proceeds will go to the Yakama Christian Mission in White Swan, Wash., Inman Christian Center in San Antonio, Texas, All Peoples Christian Center in Los Angeles, Calif., and Kentucky Appalachian Ministry in Berea, Ky.
This past February the General Conference of Disciples Men voted to help financially support the four centers after Disciples Home Missions had to eliminate the funding that partially supported them.
“We are encouraging every one of our men to look outside of themselves to see a greater purpose,” said Tod Iseminger, director of Men’s Ministries. “Ideally, they will go back to their congregations and do similar things to raise money for these mission centers. We want them to have their own pancake breakfasts, their own ham and yam, their own barbecue.”
The support that Disciples are giving to the All Peoples Christian Center is already making a huge difference in that community, the center’s Executive Director, Saundra Bryant, told the men’s group. She spoke following a time of worship led by Disciples folk, gospel and Americana performer Dean Phelps.
Disciples relationship with the All Peoples center dates to 1942, when newlyweds Dan B. and Frances Genung were sent by the United Christian Missionary Society to establish a multiracial church and community center for all people, based on the scripture in Isaiah 56:7.
“Throughout our history, the mission of All Peoples to serve God’s people, especially children has not changed,” said Bryant. Now the center’s mission faces more than just financial challenges. Located in South Central Los Angeles, at least 16 different gangs are within 1.9 square miles of the All Peoples Christian Center. The median household income for a family of four in the area is $27,145 annually compared with $42,667 citywide. Only 25 percent of the population over age 25 has a high school diploma. The dropout rate at two area high schools is almost 60 percent.
“In a community with so little and so many challenges, I still believe that God will open doors. That is why our work is essential to that community,” Bryant told the men. “The help that Disciples have given us has made a critical difference in our community. You need to know that my life has changed because of you.”
All Peoples Christian Center offers numerous services and programs to families and children. Among them are child care and extended care for more than 100 youths from low-income families. It also has several activities for middle and high school students, including regular positive interaction with police officers and other public officials.
“They do fantastic work,” said Dave Luechauer of Decatur-Trinity Christian Church in Bartlett, Tenn., who attended event. Luechauer’s father-in-law, Don Lindblom, helped start All Peoples. “This is the kind of work that Disciples men are happy to get involved with.”
By: James Patterson