10 Ways Churches Can Address Boston Homelessness Today
By Rev. Cynthia Hymes Bell
Starlight Ministries builds the capacity of churches to minister to those experiencing homelessness. Our goal is to develop relationships amongst churches and ministry groups that desire to develop mutually transformative ministries with people affected by homelessness.
Ideal partners work collaboratively not only to address the physical, spiritual, and practical needs of homeless people—they also build a healthier community. Services are coordinated effectively so that each church can find their unique contribution and no one church is overburdened.
Our target groups are church partners with existing outreach ministries or that want to launch new ministries. We pursue partnerships with churches and ministry groups aimed at achieving sustainable, relational engagement of churches with people affected by homelessness.
Starlight Ministries offers trainings opportunities, where for churches and ministry groups:
serve alongside our staff
develop a basic awareness about homelessness
nurture mutually life-changing relationships that help people affected by homelessness progress through stages of change and transition out of homelessness
How can you learn more, connect and become equipped to serve the homeless? The following is a list of opportunities that can help you get started.
How To Get Involved
1. Attend a Starlight Information & Recruitment Session
We facilitate a one-hour session on the complexity of the system of homelessness and an introduction to Starlight. Following the session, leaders are invited to sign up for in-depth training and consider how their church can engage more effectively.
For in-depth training, we ask that you commit to:
bring several lay leaders and/or clergy from your church to three subsequent training sessions
embrace and engage in a transformational style of relationship with people affected by homelessness
prayerfully and thoughtfully consider moving toward a long-term commitment of your church’s people and resources to launch or strengthen one or more forms of effective ministry to people affected by homelessness, customized for your church and your community
2. Study Homelessness Check out these resources that can help you understand the complexities of homelessness today:
3. Explore the Local Ministry Landscape See what’s happening across Boston to address homelessness:
Starlight Custom Consulting
Every church community and neighborhood has unique assets and needs. Starlight offers customized training for your church or ministry group, including:
4. Site Visits We visit your site to observe your church outreach program, and meet key leaders and ministry volunteers.
5. Listening Sessions We listen to you to learn about your church’s specific needs and your community issues.
6. Custom Classroom and Experiential Trainings customized training for church partners are provided by request. For committed, partnering churches, Starlight provides:
customized classroom training on homelessness, effective engagement, and intervention principles and practices
opportunities for your group to gain hands-on experience in effective outreach while being coached and mentored by our team of experienced staff
Giving and Fundraising
7. Donate to Starlight Be a matching donor, lead donor, or give to the annual Starlight Ministries fundraiser.
8. Join the 2018 Walkathon Be a sponsor, lead donor, build a team to walk and raise funds or volunteer for Starlight Ministries Spring 2018 Walkathon.
9. Hold a Fundraiser Organize a fundraising event in your church, neighborhood or community.
10. Donate Goods Contribute clothing, coats, shoes and other personal care items to our Resource/Drop-in center.
Cynthia Hymes Bell
Cynthia is leading Starlight Ministries in its mission to build the capacity of Boston’s churches and leaders to create life-changing relationships with people affected by homelessness. She has a degree in mental health from Tufts University, a Master of Public Health from Yale, and a Master of Divinity from Harvard. From 2002 to 2008, Cynthia traveled to South Sudan with “My Sister’s Keeper,” where she participated in the redemption of more than 1,200 slaves. She is a licensed and ordained minister and serves on the ministry team of Morning Star Baptist Church in the Mattapan neighborhood of Boston.