Little Lights Urban Ministries

2015 Spring Newsletter

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2 LITTLE LIghTs urban mInIsTrIEs SPRING 2015 The images were difficult and pain- ful to watch. Stores being looted, fires burning, and police with shields, lined up in rows. It was easy to feel both helpless and hopeless about the situation in Baltimore as it unfolded on national news. The pain and despair in impover- ished urban communities is all too real. There are many young people who have grown up in economically and spiritually devastated neigh- borhoods where jobs are scarce, drug traffic is common, and good schools and healthy marriages are hard to find. We must do all we can to make sure that our governmental institution, including police departments, are treating citizens fairly and profes- sionally. I don't think it is reasonable to believe that all police depart- ments across the nation are free from racial or class bias. I believe reform is needed within the crimi- nal justice system to ensure liberty and justice for all. I also believe that even this reform would not be enough to tackle the depth of despair in communities like Sand- town in Baltimore, or even in public housing like Potomac Gardens or Hopkins. There is also the need for the ongo- ing work of committed compassion and love that leads to economic empowerment and hope for the future, both hope for this world and hope for eternity. Vulnerable communities need loving fellow- ship and relationships with people who stand with them. Mother Teresa once stated that "the biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted." There are too many children and youth in our city who are grow- ing up with this "disease." Feel- ing unwanted, many youth feel disconnected from an adult world that doesn't seem to value them. This feeling can perpetuate a cycle of self-destructiveness or depres- sion that they struggle to shake. The obstacles to economic inde- pendence are many and without genuine relationships and access to resources and opportunity, young people give up on a productive, positive future. Yet, there is hope. Little Lights is as committed as ever to share the love of Christ and bring caring rela- tionships, coupled with practical support and economic empower- ment, to our city. We have seen many lives change and hope instilled through caring relation- ships, through kindness, and opportunities to learn and grow. We need more places of compas- sion and reconciliation throughout the city. There is much work do be done. It is my prayer, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2015, that God would not just sustain our current work, but that through partner- ships with supporters like you and collaboration with other institu- tions and churches, that we can reach and bless many more chil- dren, youth, and families with real hope through committed, compas- sionate support. Thanks again for your belief in our mission. " Yet, there is hope. Little Lights is as committed as ever to share the love of Christ and bring caring relationships, coupled with practical support and economic empowerment, to our city. committed compassion and love LETTEr from sTEVE steve park Executive Director & Founder Little Lights Urban Ministries

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