Owning the Change
June 6, 2011 Leave a comment
Al Santino – Northeast Community Transformation
Safe Haven’s mission statement is “to effectively love, serve and empower youth in the context of their community by educating and equipping them spiritually, creatively and intellectually, that they may own the change happening in Newark.” This mission reflects a participation in God’s eternal plan to reconcile and restore all of his creation through the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul affirms this in Colossians 1:20 when he states, “and through him [Jesus Christ] to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” This making of peace, or shalom, through thePrince of Peace is the working of God’s kingdom to reconcile people to Himself. It is also the work of the kingdom that restores people, communities, socio-political structures and nature itself to the image of their Creator. As God’s people participate in mercy, justice, and community development, they shine forth the light of the Kingdom; a “foretaste” of the ultimate restoration of all things when Jesus returns as triumphant King.
In the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, this light shines as Safe Haven employs teenagers and young adults from the community for their after school program and mentors them in their spiritual and social development. Growing in work responsibility, sound values, and learning how to serve the children, these teens are helping the young people to own the change in their community. Several of them have been doing surveys and speaking with other youth as to how they can own the change in their community that will result in more educational, recreational and social opportunities. Rashim has the opportunity to use his artistic gifts to teach children in the after school program. Martin is helping to organize a boxing program that will utilize discipline to help young people address important life issues. Eric Morgan, the Crossover Teen Ministry leader, is mentoring several young people who he hopes will eventually own the change as leaders in this ministry. God is planting seeds of shalom that are growing to bring transformation to this community. His kingdom is on the move in Newark!