Utilizing a small two bedroom cottage owned by and adjacent to the church, the congregation formed Haven of Hope for Kids that now provides up to 6 day vacation retreats to urban lower income families caring for critically ill children. The program opened in June of 2005. Over twenty five seriously ill children and their families have now had a vacation in the country and a respite from the constant stress and worry that illness and hospital treatment bring. The children are selected by the social workers from seven participating hospitals. Over forty five volunteers from both inside and outside the parish actively participate in the program.
For the surrounding community and for the existing congregation, this program has transformed the identity of St. Luke's Church. The Rector of St. Luke's now also serves as the Director of Haven of Hope for Kids and receives approximately 1/2 of his compensation through this 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. For its ministry Haven of Hope for Kids has attracted wide financial and volunteer support well beyond the existing parish.
St. Luke's/Haven of Hope applied for a 2007 Roanridge Grant to recruit a seminarian intern who has a passion for rural ministry beyond the traditional parish model. The intern, Jon Owens (pictured above), began in June, 2007 and will complete his 10-week training in September.
Congratulations Jon, St. Luke's and Haven of Hope for Kids. May God's blessings of abundance be with you...