Does Anyone Listen?
Many pastors have asked themselves the same questions: "I wonder if my messages really matter? Do people hear what I say and is it making a difference in their lives?
Well, after church on August 30th, I got an answer to those questions. I had just delivered a message on "God's Prescription for Anxiety," the fifth of our series entitled "God's Prescription for a Healthy Mind." Later that day, I saw a Facebook post from one of our attendees. He had heard my previous messages on Stinkin' Thinkin', Loneliness, Fear, and Depression, but was powerfully impacted by our discussions on Anxiety. He said, in part:
So much insight has come from this morning's service. Driving home, the tears suddenly and inexplicably began rolling down my cheeks. I guess you could say that I was convicted. I had allowed anxiety to rule in my life and had begun acting like a stressed out ogre- short of temper, frantic, and frustrated. Good teaching brings repentance and this morning certainly was a good teaching to bring about a sincere desire to turn from my previous thought patterns. Thank you, Pastor!
Just when I start thinking that it's falling on deaf ears, God shows up to create yet another miracle of transformation.
Read on and see how else God is transforming lives at The Gathering.
- Rev. Carrie Jena
Connect the Community" Brings Hope and Healing
The Gathering brought a good ol' fashioned Block Party and more to over 100 neighbors in the Moore Street area of Middletown this past month. Moore Street is a neighborhood that struggles with crime, drug addiction, and poverty. But, it also is a neighborhood that is blessed with lots of children, growing families, and great resiliency.
The Gathering has seen the potential in this neighborhood for over two years and decided to do something about it. For two months, The Gathering's Outreach Team walked the streets, prayed with the neighbors and invited them to the event. Then, on a beautiful, sunny day in mid-August, more than 100 people responded to the invitation and came to their first-ever Moore Street Block party.
Neighbors enjoyed hotdogs, funnel cakes, face painting, and conversation. In
addition, seven Middletown EMS workers and one firetruck were on hand to meet Moore Street residents and make new friends. One man came out of his house for the first time EVER. "I had to see what was going on over here," he said. As a result of the block party, a neighborhood watch group was formed to continue the work of bringing hope and healing to this area of Middletown.
That's what an injection of Hope can do!
Meeting the Real Struggles for Ex-Offenders
At The Gathering's second Re-Entry Pathways Lunch & Learn, over 30 faith leaders and community service providers heard first-hand about the challenges the formerly incarcerated, or returning citizens, face during their re-entry into our communities.
A Q&A panel discussion centered on the real-life experiences of re-entry from both returning citizens and representatives of the State and County parole and probation
agencies. We learned about many challenges - overloaded case workers, crowded prisons, and delays in implementing meaningful programs. The Gathering's leadership also realized that we are meeting those challenges by providing positive, supportive personal relationships, community
engagement, and relevant training programs at every step of the re-entry process. One returning citizen said, "We are most fragile when we get out." As a faith community committed to re-entry, The Gathering is constantly looking for ways to be there when
Join us in this effort by coming to our next Lunch & Learn on October 19th at Noon.
"Jobs Plus" Coming to Middletown
The Gathering welcomes our newest community partner, City Gospel Mission's Jobs Plus! Jobs Plus is a faith-based, job readiness and job placement program that has trained and placed over 2,500 people in jobs in Hamilton County.
Jobs Plus is now looking to expand into Butler and Warren Counties. "When we decided to increase our footprint into Butler County, we wanted to come to Middletown first, and we immediately thought of The Gathering because of the work they are doing already," explains Doug Dunlap, Jobs Plus' Northern Regional Director. Classes and seminars will begin at The Gathering in October for six weeks.
Jobs Plus' approach includes developing community partnerships with area businesses, social service agencies, and churches to provide a network for qualified candidates to access job opportunities.
You and/or your business are invited to partner with us and with Jobs Plus. Simply contact Doug Dunlap at
Thank You to This Past Quarter's Donors
Thank you to our generous donors who are making life change and community healing possible through The Gathering. As you can see, your generosity makes a difference in the lives of so many and is helping build God's Kingdom in Middletown. Our ministry efforts would not be possible without your support. Thank you.