Leaders of a new local nonprofit Christian ministry that has extended love and warmth to some of the area’s struggling residents now hopes someone can extend some of the same to them — all so they can continue their work during the winter.
Simple Street Columbus ministry, which began in April at the Pence Street Park shelter house, is seeking a new place to worship on Sundays. The outreach currently gathering at noon Sundays is hoping to find an indoor spot because the weather has turned colder, according to founding pastor and CEO Brandon Hemming.
Because most of its followers are experiencing financial and other hardships, Hemming is uncertain if leaders can afford much rent at the moment.
“But if it’s a place where I feel strongly that the Lord wants us to be, I feel that he would make a way” financially, Hemming said.
Anywhere from 60 to 100 people have gathered on some Sundays, according to organizers. The basic goal amid a fellowship homemade meal, a discipleship class and a worship service has been, well, simple, since the beginning, according to the ministry mission statement: “We are here to help inspire the church to reach out to those who are beyond the four walls of the church.”
Simple Street Columbus leaders gave away free toiletries to those needing them, plus coats, warm caps, socks, gloves and the like most recently. In some cases, they have given people tents for protection against the elements.
Currently, they’re seeking people to help them do bike repair for people without a vehicle to drive.
Earlier this year in a Republic story, Hemming told the story of how God touched his heart especially for the homeless and the addicted and those generally down and out.
Besides ministry at the park, leaders and other Simple Street Columbus believers have ministered at places such as the Morgan County Jail. They say 26 people decided to embrace the Christian faith during a recent visit there. At the park since April, they say that tally of those dedicating their lives to God is 83.
“It’s the spirit of God and the goodness of God,” he said. “We know that it’s the kindness of the Lord that leads people to repentance.”
Ideally, the group would like to remain somewhere near the current location, if at all possible. But they already have gathered elsewhere a time or two, such as Second Street.
“The homeless community knows where to find us,” Hemming said.
And he wants more of them to know that they can find caring and acceptance at Simple Street gatherings. Carl Petro, who provides free haircuts to those needing them, summarized in the spring the desired atmosphere.
“We just want to spread a lot of love,” Petro said.
The outreach recently launched a partnership campaign called Heat the Streets with area churches and individuals. It encourages people to donate financially or to provide needed practical items for the homeless.
“Basically,” Hemming said, “we’re building all this from the ground up.”
How to help
Simple Street Columbus founder Brandon Hemming can be reached at 317-389-6011. To donate to the ministry, visit donorbox.org/simplestreet.