Every community has the responsibility to care for their own. Whatever the name placed upon the community plaque or the city’s gateway, we are a community and a city of families; families that contain mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, and other members whom we love. After spending the last thirteen years in many of the most impoverished areas of Birmingham Alabama and its surrounding communities, I have been astounded by what I have learned not about the poor, but about us as a community. Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of the people that make up the poor, the widowed, the orphans, the homeless, the hungry and the naked. Somewhere along the way we replaced people with labels reflecting their conditions, and in communities removed the connecting power of the word “neighbor” and renamed them as “hoods”. And while we have been able to ignore these labels, it is here that I hear the words of the Lord Jesus Christ resound, “The impoverished you will always have with you.” He is not pointing out a problem, but rather an ongoing opportunity and responsibility for us to care for and love our own. It is our clarion call to serve people.
For the last ten years the men and women of Mission Alabama (formerly Mission Birmingham Transformation Strategies) have worked to unite our city across the denominational, racial and geographical boundaries that have traditionally separated our community. Our staff clear reflects the diversity of which we speak. This commitment to diversity and inclusion has enabled us to build the most extensive network at the grassroots level. Through our commitment to service and indigenous leadership, we have been able to build relationships of trust. We have been granted the privilege to speak at multiple levels across the greater Birmingham community. Together we offer ourselves and our organization to be a BRIDGE TO TRANSFORMATION.
Our organization is unique in that we seek to build bridges that allow access for the most vulnerable in our communities to access the futures and hope that is beyond their current reach. We have also created many innovative strategies to allow churches, organizations, government entities and corporations to build strategic partnerships that have been able to literally transform lives. Our commitment is to be a bridge and not merely pier. While a pier allows partners to observe and have a volunteer experience (turkeys over the wall), a bridge allows them to build long-term transformational relationships and partnerships directly with those that they reach. A bridge allows us to not only reach the most vulnerable in our communities, but it also allows us to return them to a place of holistic health (i.e. spirit, soul and body).
Join us in 2016 as we build strategic bridges to create effective partnerships that produce Transformational Strategies. This year we will serve more than 100 corporations, several public schools systems, public housing communities and connect more than 2,000 church and faith based organizations in a shared online case management system that allows the needs of our community to be met in a responsible and systematic manner. Individuals, families, churches and organizations will be able to meet the needs within their organizations and across the region. Never before has our community had the opportunity to meet the needs of the impoverished to this extent. We are calling the initiative “Reach My City”. We look forward to helping you become a bridge builder for the individuals in our community that are looking for a hand up and not a hand out.