Meeting Recap – March 2023
The room was full on Tuesday night as more than 135 Amplify partners and guests spent time in conversation around homelessness.
Thank you to all who joined us, including 36 first time attendees! In case you missed it, here is a quick recap of the evening and a way to connect even further.
Christian Ankrum, musical guest and worship leader at The Table Mpls welcomed guests and opened the evening in song.
Rev. Melissa Pohlman, Pastor of Community Ministry at Central Lutheran Minneapolis shared her church’s commitment to walk alongside people experiencing homelessness and poverty in Minneapolis and her own personal journey in getting there. “I grew up with two parents who worked really hard but were having a hard time making ends meet. When we went to church, people fed me and loved me. I knew I wanted to stay close to this Jesus who made sure people got fed, had a place to stay, and were loved.”
When Pohlman was called to Central Lutheran, she inherited a 50-year-old ministry to care for the community. Every Thursday she makes sure breakfast happens and bus tokens get handed out at Street Voices of Change, which is working to change the conditions of being homeless in Minneapolis.
She shared, “If you have met one person experiencing homelessness, that is exactly who you have met. You have met one person experiencing homelessness. Everyone has their own story, background, families, cultures, and ways they got into homelessness. They also have their own hopes and dreams for ending their homelessness.”
Joining Rev. Pohlman was Cecil Scott with Street Voices of Change. He challenged assumptions about homelessness through his personal story starting with his family being destroyed by crack cocaine. “We used to do things like camping, fishing, activities together. When the drugs came they destroyed all of that.” Cecil learned to care for himself on the streets at age 13.
Decades later, Cecil chose homelessness after a bad relationship ended using his street survival skills to get hotel rooms and feed himself. “I lost a lot of love from my family. When you’re in this struggle there is a lot of fear and a lot of rejection.”
He eventually found his way to Street Voices of Change after seeing a flyer with the promise of free breakfast and bus tokens. It was the people he met there who encouraged him and took care of him. “I knew if I didn’t change, I was going to die in the streets. So I started working harder and saving my money.” Cecil got himself to a place where he was out of homelessness for five years, working hard without government assistance.
Recently, Cecil received a 60 day notice of removal from his apartment, which sent him into an extreme depression. The most painful piece was needing to find a new home for his beloved cat.
In closing, he challenged us to set aside judgment. “I want you to know and understand that each homeless person is different and have different circumstances that put us into homelessness. Please don’t be judgmental. See us as people, not as a homeless person.”
Our ministry impact update this meeting came from Seth Ralston, who shared about his experience in the Learning Academy for nonprofit leaders.
“It was such an impactful experience for my leadership ability. I learned a ton from leaders throughout the Twin Cities and met other leaders who I still keep in touch with. I want to give a huge shout out to Amplify for putting on such an amazing experience through the Learning Academy. I also want to thank those of you in attendance tonight. Your wisdom goes a long way for these nonprofits.”
Husband/wife duo, Kris & Rachel Residence, shared their God-size vision for helping others find newness in Christ and freedom from cycles of brokenness through Allos Ministries. Kris shared his personal journey of transformation from homelessness and addiction to a place of renewed faith. Today they own and operate three Red Savoy restaurants and one home with six residents. Through every step of their story, it was clear God has gone before them and made the impossible possible.
Kris & Rachel shared their vision to have eight restaurants and eight homes in the next three years. They asked the Amplify room for support in quickly developing the organization with the right team and funding model to make this dream a reality.
One of the founders of The Haven, Jenna Lebert, shared about the heartbreaking need vulnerable young adults face as they transition from high school to independent living. Lebert and two friends felt compelled to respond and founded The Haven, providing safe, affordable housing and Christ-centered community to help vulnerable young adults reach their full potential.
With a newly purchased home for young women and the addition of their first resident in January, Lebert shared her vision for the organization and asked Amplify’s network to help move The Haven beyond its current emerging state to a sustainable organization not dependent on the three founders.
Julie Eide, President of Amplify wrapped up the evening by sharing a preview of our keynote speaker, Erik Weihenmeyer, who will be joining us in September for our annual fundraising event.
In Their Own Words
“From the moment I walked in, I felt the spirit of God present and was at such peace. I left feeling so encouraged and energized." Kris Residence, Allos
"It’s been incredible to see the Lord’s provision throughout our journey. He has provided funding, people, ideas, and divine connections that led us to Amplify. The Amplify night was truly amazing and I was moved by the number of people who came up to me with words of advice, encouragement, and expressed love and support for our mission. I believe the Lord will use this night to increase His kingdom." - Jenna Lebert, The Haven
"What an inspiring evening! Thanks for welcoming a newbie like me. Amplify does amazing work -- I'm looking forward to participating further!"
"This meeting was definitely time well spent and I walked away energized and reminded of God's faithfulness, power, and generosity! Thank you, Amplify Team!"