A Letter from Jeff & Eva
In the past year, the Emmanuel Gospel Center worked to strengthen over 840 Christian leaders from over 160 churches across Greater Boston. You can read the stories of some of these amazing leaders and churches in Highlights and Impact areas below.
We are excited about what God is doing through his people in Greater Boston. And we are grateful for what you do to cooperate with God’s work, and for your partnership with us in ministry.
Be encouraged. God’s plan is that Christ will be glorified through the church. Let’s keep working together to make that an obvious and powerful reality in Greater Boston!
God is able to do much more than we ask or think through His power working in us. May we see His shining-greatness in the church. May all people in all time honor Christ Jesus. Let it be so. – Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLV)
Highlights from egc programs
Over the past year, EGC connected with over 840 Christian leaders from 126 churches in Greater Boston!
In Spring 2018, youth from Lower Roxbury partnered with the BEC, Vibrant Boston and St. Stephen's Youth Programs to address issues they identified in their community. They gathered insights from 55 local teens and young adults about violence, poverty, and other local issues. They presented their survey findings at an event that brought together church leaders and local organizations, and empowered young leaders to continue taking positive action in their communities.
The Race and Christian Community Initiative welcomed over 130 leaders from different races, ages and theological backgrounds to celebrate the launch of our ministry. The atmosphere was electric, full of energy and enthusiasm, as people learned from one another and testified to how God is working in our city. By creating the space for people to come together and the Lord to move, RCCI helped connect, equip, and encourage people to continue God's restorative work in the area of race relations.
Route One celebrated some exciting milestones in their 8th year of ministry, providing training to 1,300 Christian leaders on human trafficking and gender-based violence! We connect with 70 women weekly, and serve 50% of the strip clubs in Massachusetts. Route One has seen 12 women leave the sex industry over the past 18 months and paired them with mentors to support the women as they learn ESL, fill out applications or attend NA meetings.
Starlight is equipping leaders from several churches (including Symphony, Citylife Presbyterian and Ruggles Baptist) in the Allston-Brighton and Fenway areas of Boston to collaborate with other churches in their area to implement holistic approaches to address the physical, practical and spiritual needs of people in their neighborhood who are affected by homelessness. Each church is learning to find its unique contribution to this collaboration as well as identifying key leverage points where churches and ministry groups can engage the system of homelessness.
GBRM trained 137 people (we call our trained volunteers “ambassadors”) and served more than 425 refugees in an on-going way or through “one-touch” events. In a response to a survey question about what benefits they had received from their refugee friends, one GBRM ambassador wrote, “The greatest benefit has been connecting, building friendships and learning to embrace a family who looks, talks and lives much differently than me on the surface. I have learned a lot about love from this family. I see ALL people groups a lot differently.”
In May 2018, we celebrated the legacy and retirement of Pastor Soliny Védrine, the founder and director of EGC's Haitian Ministries International. It was encouraging to reflect on our partnership with the Haitian community, and recognize the leadership that continues to work with and strengthen the Haitian Church. Pastor Sol's heart and vision for Haitian churches and pastors continues to add tremendously to the vitality of the Christian church in Boston.
“God’s goal is that every Bostonian be enthusiastically active in a Jesus-permeated, local church,” says Ralph Kee, animator of the Greater Boston Church Planting Collaborative. GBCPC stregthens pastors and church planters through dialogue, common vision building, and mutual learning. Some of our notable forums this year included "Church Planting and Hip Hop," led by Marc Auguste and Caleb McCoy (EGC's Development manager), and "Boston Rising: Boston's new Growth and the Church's Opportunity," led by Rudy Mitchell (EGC's senior researcher).
EGC Executive Director, Jeff Bass, Grants Manager, Dana Wade, and our ministry partner, Rev. David Wright taught "Living Systems in the Urban Context" at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Boston. This class teaches students to apply the basics and tools of Living System Ministry in church and ministry settings. In their evaluation of the class, one Christian leader wrote "this is one of my favorite classes of all time", and called the Living System approach "revolutionary".
This year, EGC attended the GO Conference, an event designed to equip and encourage members of the New England Church to be disciple-making disciples who share their faith in organic, relevant and meaningful ways. EGC facilitated and presented at workshops on Racial Reconciliation and Christian unity. EGC's research team also came alongside the GO Conference team provided event reporting and analysis. Join us at next year's GO Conference by registering here.
This year, EGC partnered with Vision New England, Greater Things for Greater Boston, and the Luis Palau Association to convene the third New England City Forum. This brought together almost 100 Christian leaders from 61 churches and 30 ministries from 17 cities across New England to learn from each other, develop deeper relationships, and ultimately increase effective ministry in each of our cities.
Have you checked out our blog? It is filled with stories from the city, Biblical reflection, and ministry resources on relevant topics. Some of are some of our favorite posts are: Staying Afloat in Multi-site Ministry, 5 Mind Blowing Realities About Race, and Reasons Refugee Entrepreneurship Matters.
This year, Route One Ministry partnered with the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP) to host their regional conference in Boston. This was a conference for leaders in the anti sex trafficking industry, and other direct service practitioners to build leadership and fundraising skills. Several EGC staff members presented on Living System principles, grant research, and budgeting.
Impact from egc partners
"The Emmanuel Gospel Center is a national model of glocal kingdom work. I am proud to serve this organization that has, and continues to serve so many.”
Rev. Dr. Emmett G. Price III is Dean of the Chapel (Hamilton Campus), Professor of Worship, Church & Culture and founding executive director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is also the founding pastor of Community of Love Christian Fellowship in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and a member of the EGC Board of Directors.
“The staff at EGC are deeply invested in and excited about their work, and I think their foundation in Christ and hope of the Gospel allows them to work with energy and cohesion uncommon in most work environments.” - Evangeline Kennedy, ARC Intern
ARC was blessed with a summer cohort of five interns, all of whom contributed in significant ways to our work. These emerging leaders did community interviews, transcriptions, data analysis and mapping, graphic design, literature review, archiving, and blog writing. They courageously covered important topics that included affordable housing, foster care, the Black Church, public health, and urban youth voices.
"God has used this ministry, not just to educate me about our country's history, but about the state of my heart, and more importantly, the state of God's heart."
Kate Wolcott participated in a year-long learning community RCCI hosted for white evangelicals desiring to learn about issues related to race. As a result, she came to see herself and others differently and began taking reconciling actions. This included volunteering under the leadership of a woman of color at work to facilitate talks on race, investing in ongoing conversations about race with her family, and thinking of ways to intentionally diversify the influences on her life.
"Understanding Living Systems is the critical next step in the development of effective ministry, especially in the urban context."
Rev. Wright is the executive director of the Black Ministerial Alliance, an organization that helps churches, ministries, and non-profits work together to engage communities in Boston. Rev. Wright is also an associate minister at the Peoples Baptist Church in Boston, where he serves as assistant to the Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Wesley A. Roberts.
"I feel as if I really started understanding God at a better level when I came here to Boston."
Cherchaela Spellen is a Boston College Graduate School of Social Work student who interned at EGC'c Boston Educational Collaborative. Cherchaela was the faciliator for the Making Youth Voices Heard initiative, a collaboration for community learning and action among youth, social work students, non-profit programs, and community members.
"Over the years, the EGC staff have been an abundant source of institutional counsel, modeling and collaboration for me personally as well as for our congregation."
Rev. Roberto Miranda is the Senior Pastor of Congregación León de Judá, Boston. “Congregación León de Judá began its life in the winter of 1982 in a space graciously facilitated by EGC on San Juan Street. The Latino pastoral community in New England has benefitted immensely from our long-term collaborative work with EGC on the Instituto para la Excelencia Pastoral project.”
"I really appreciate EGC and what they've done to support me. They laid out a strong biblical foundation on how Christians are called to serve and love our refugee neighbors."
Saranya is an Ambassador with GBRM, and a member of the Justice Engagement Team (JET) at Antioch Church. JET is a group that actively seeks out opportunities to love and to serve our community and the city of Boston.
"EGC has really been the Institute's home base in so many important ways. They have nurtured our mission and ministry, not least by providing a physical, intellectual and spiritual space that has also been a safe space from where we have pursued much of our principal objective of bringing the Church, in all of her remarkable diversity, closer together."
Matt Crane is the Director of Christian Education for the Presbyterian Church in Sudbury, MA. He also serves as a Fellow with the Institute for Christian Unity. His work at the Institute is to participate in promoting and serving the unity of the Christian Church by his involvement in dialogue that fosters Christian unity, mentoring ministry associates who have a passion for the unity of the Church and implementing initiatives that bring Christians together to engage in the practical, relational work of Christian unity.
"The relationship between the First Baptist Church and Starlight Ministries has been invaluable. This partnership has helped shape my approach to ministering to the homeless."
Taryn Johnson is an advocate for those affected by homelessness. Partnering with Starlight Ministries, she helped start "Sharing in the Square," a prayer and outreach walk through Central Square in Cambridge. Taryn is an active member at First Baptist Church in Cambridge, and has helped inspire her church community to get involved in the fight against homelessness.
"There were no Route One volunteers when I was dancing (in the clubs), and it would have been great if they were there. I would have left sooner, I am sure. That is why I keep doing Route One. That is why Route One matters."
Sally has served as an outreach volunteer with Route One for nearly 3 years. She uses her experience as a sex trafficking survivor to share her story and bring a special way of ministering into the strip clubs.
"This experience was much more than just making and giving out mittens, but an opportunity to enter into the life of people experiencing homelessness."
This year, Nancy and Mimi took an innovative step in serving at Starlight Ministries. They utilized fleece and sewing materials found in Starlight's closet to facilitate a mitten-making event at their church to give away to people in need. Mimi and Nancy invited friends that they had known from Starlight Ministries' drop in center to join in the event. It turned out to be a powerful time for people at the church to be working side by side with women that were from circumstances so different from their own. Nancy and Mimi's vision is to use events like these as opportunities to build relationships between her church and people experiencing homelessness.
"Building bridges across various Christian traditions and cultures can be extremely difficult. EGC came alongside me in cultivating the vision for Christian unity that God has given me. Without their support and encouragement to persevere, I wouldn't be the leader that I am today."
Kelly Steinhaus is the founding director of UniteBoston, a ministry that builds relational connections across denominations and ethnic groups in Boston. Fueled by EGC's teaching concept of Living System Ministry, UniteBoston runs an online events calendar, encourages inter-church worship movements, and facilitates collaborative service days for churches in Boston.
"Finding a job always is a big challenge for refugees. My biggest desire for saffron is to import it to the US....It has a lot of benefits for you, and by doing that, I can bring a lot of benefits to my country, too."
Zaynab was in the middle of pursuing a business degree in her country of Afghanistan when she had to flee for her life. After a long journey, she came to Boston two years ago as a refugee. Gradually she reoriented to her new context, all the while maintaining her desire to pursue business. Zaynab currently serves as a valuable member of the GBRM team, consulting on questions of culture and language. She speaks to local groups about her experience and perspective. She is once again studying for her degree, while starting a business that sells Afghan saffron in the US and empowers women in her home country.
We believe healthy leaders lead to healthy churches and related systems, which lead to healthy communities and positive change in the world.
We strengthen leaders by helping them:
Learn: by taking time to understand the city and the systems in which we operate.
Connect: By getting to know the people involved and facilitating strong working relationships, and by connecting the dots of stories and narratives to facilitate understanding.
Equip: By providing teaching, training, tools and resources for effective ministry, and to help others learn and connect.
Learn, Connect and Equip always works together and leads to action.