News

As we look for ways to respond to the issue of racial inequality, Dwell Pastor Josh Benadum offers these suggestions for our conversations and relationships:

1. Encourage people to listen to one another (James 1:19). Not everyone emotionally identifies with the rage and fear that many are expressing right now. But this is an important opportunity for people to learn to empathize with and seek to understand those with different backgrounds experiences (Romans 12:15).

2. Actively initiate this conversation with others. Many are angry, but won't talk about it. Or the anger comes out in strange ways and at unpredictable times. Be proactive rather than reactive. We need to show initiating love, rather than passively waiting for others to bring it up (1 John 4:19). Ideally, these conversations would be better in a one-on-one setting, so a hurting person can open up. Ask questions like, "I have been saddened by the recent news... How has it affected you? From your perspective, what did you think when you saw that footage? What kind of thoughts have you been having about it? What do you think God would have to say about all of this?"

3. Resist the urge to be a "fixer" (Proverbs 18:30). We are not going to solve systemic racism in a conversation and shouldn’t try. But we can bond through these times, grow in understanding, and achieve deeper intimacy with brothers and sisters in Christ. Resist the urge to jump quickly to solutions. Listening and empathy are so vital, and many yearn to be understood. There's a biblical precedent for lamentation, and we shouldn't try to expedite or extinguish this process (Lamentations 1-3). Be ready for rawness, much like when a person is grieving the death of a friend or family member.

4. Help people get their emotions before God (Habakkuk 1:2). God is more saddened and angered by injustice than any of us, and we will find comforting truth and wise direction when we turn to him (James 1:5).

5. Take this opportunity to boldly teach what the Bible says on justice and equality (Isaiah 1:17, Micah 6:8). As Christians we have a stronger foundation from which to condemn and fight racism and hate than our culture’s shifting moral consensus (Genesis 1:27).

6. Preach the gospel (2 Timothy 4:1-2). We have a message that frees people from the cycles of bitterness and sin that perpetuate hate and division (Ephesians 2:14). The gospel accomplishes transformation and reconciliation for both oppressors and those who have been oppressed (Acts 10:34-43). People on every side of what is happening need the freedom that comes through knowing Jesus Christ.

The upheavals of the last few months have taken their toll on many of us, including our mental health. Bryan Jones from the Dwell Counseling Department offers some insight and suggestions for gaining your footing:

Image
Counseling

We are in a time of great disruption, and in this uncertainty, it is vital that we protect our spiritual and mental health. Stay-at-home orders have brought about many changes, including a loss of routine. Our social lives have been hacked to pieces and replaced with a digital imitation. On top of that, we are potentially looking at an ongoing cycle of easing and extending of these restrictions.

Many of us have been thrown into a time of financial difficulty. Numerous workers have been laid off, fired, or furloughed. We are in an economic decline which will likely have repercussions for years to come. Parents at home with children are trying to explain what is going on. Medical and frontline workers are regularly confronted with people who are sick, and the tensions of maintaining health in highly interactive environments. We are worried about getting sick ourselves or are concerned for loved ones with potential complications. Some of us have gotten sick. Others already know someone who has died.

Then we add in the continual bombardment of the news. Every day articles are piling up, often contradictory, reminding us of the dangers and deaths, the economic implications, and the political interpretations. We are also facing internal battles on maintaining restrictions, identifying our freedoms, and choosing if we sacrifice in ways that might be considered risky. Perhaps you find yourself comparing yourself to others and welling up with self-righteousness or defeat. After nearly three months of upheaval due to COVID-19, we are now facing national upheaval in the wake of a black man’s death at the hands of a police officer. That tragedy has ignited a wave of dialogue, protests, and (unfortunately) destruction across the country.

Image
Good grief

This time of isolation can be especially difficult for people dealing with the loss of a loved one. The Dwell Grief Ministry is offering help to those struggling with the additional burden of grief at this time.

The Good Grief group will meet via Zoom next Tuesday, June 2nd at 6:30 pm. This is a discussion group for young adults who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or friend. Meeting other young people who have lost a loved one can help normalize the experience for teenage and young adults, who often do not know anyone else who has experienced the unique grief from death.

For those in grief who don't fit this age group the Grief Ministry team offers other workshops and discussion groups as well as one-on-one support, in both adult and college spheres. The Grief Consulting and Companioning program offers assistance to home group leaders, house leaders, and others who need guidance in ministering to those in their group who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Grief team members do presentations at home groups and cell groups on various grief related topics. Please email grief@dwellcc.org for more information.

During a time of grief, it is important to seek out people who acknowledge our loss and who will listen to our raw expression of grief. Sharing pain with others won't make it disappear, but it will, over time, make it more bearable, more understandable, and less isolating. Reaching out for help also connects us to other people and strengthens the bonds of love that is the foundation of Christian community.

This can be challenging during a time of social isolation--but perhaps now it is even more important to find a caring person with a listening ear.

Image
Food for Haiti

The Dwell Missions Division recently distributed emergency relief money to some of our partners suffering from the effects of the coronavirus. The division reports our partners in Haiti have already been able to use the money to use:

COVID-19 is having devastating impacts on the health and economy in many of the countries where our Global Partners work. So, in addition to annual sustaining funds from the Global Partnership Fund, we recently released emergency funding to several partners.

We provided a total of $15,000 to our partners in Ecuador, Côte d'Ivoire and Haiti, which will allow them to provide vital relief to the needy. They will now be able to distribute food to the hungry, cover medical bills, and provide hygiene products to their congregations and surrounding communities. This week our partners in Haiti were able to deliver provisions to 18 people in the Lavalle community. They received kits with rice, beans, oil, corn meal, herring, and soap. Pastor Roberno wrote to us expressing their gratitude to the folks at Dwell! 

Starting May 22nd the Study Center will offer curbside pick-up and drop-off for books. Its staff will be following the Ohio Library Council's guidance for offering this service safely (disinfecting surfaces, wearing masks & gloves, social distancing, etc).

Here are the options for reserving and picking up a book:

  • Login to your study center account at studycenter.xenos.org, search for your book, click "Place Hold," and select "New Location at RDP" as your pickup location.
  • Call the Study Center at (614) 423-4145, and simply tell us over the phone what book you would like to reserve and when you will be picking it up.
  • Come to the Study Center, knock on the door during business hours, and let us know what book you would like (least preferred option, but still available).
  • When you arrive to pick up your book, we will bring the book out to your car, and place it in your back seat or trunk for you.

How to return books:

  • Place books in the drop-off bin by the front door of the Study Center, located at 620 E. Oakland Park Ave. This is available 24 hours a day.

The Ohio Library Council encourages all locations to isolate returned books in bins for 2-3 days so that no trace of the virus can survive before being put back on the shelves. We are going one step further, and isolating the books for 4 days before we put them back on the shelves. We want to make sure that our services are safe for everyone to use.

Here are the updated hours that we will be offering the curbside pick-up service:

  • Monday - Friday: 1pm - 6pm
  • Saturdays: 1pm - 4pm
  • Sundays: Closed

Inside use of the Study Center will remain closed until further notice, as keeping with the Ohio Library Council's guidelines. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Kevin Zahler at zahlerk@dwellcc.org.
 

Image
Dwell Service

With many people in need of food these days, with dozens of volunteers from Dwell are answering the call each week at the All People’s Fresh Market on Parsons Avenue, a program of Community Development for All People. They’ve been packing food boxes, loading them into customers’ cars, cleaning, directing traffic, and handling administrative tasks.

The Market offers fresh food to folks on a low-income and is the largest free food distributor in Ohio serving between 500 to 700 families a day. As such it needs many volunteers—at least 20-30 each day, 5 days a week (Tuesday through Saturday). Dwell volunteers have stepped up, with 45 percent of the pantry's volunteers coming from our church. Over 30 people from Dwell serve each week, with some volunteering more than once a week.

Dwell member Adam Householder works for the market and says there is a growing need for volunteers now, as people start to go back to work and some current volunteers can’t continue. You can easily sign up using the POINT app. You can see a current list of volunteer events at this link.

Dwell member Keenan Lewis has been volunteering there and says it’s fun and refreshing, with the work consistent but not complex or overwhelming. Keenan says he plans to continue volunteering there. “I can tangibly see how this is helping the community and making a difference in me as well.”

Please consider joining in this effort to help meet a real need in our community, showing them the love of Christ through your actions. If you have questions about signing up, contact Jess Grady at Jgrady@4allpeople.net.
 

Online ministriesA number of Dwell support ministries are, for now, meeting online--a way to continue to serve and encourage, including those who may be especially vulnerable at this time. These groups are sharing God's love and strength with people battling addiction (and those who love them), military veterans, people with mental illness, and those with special needs. You can see a full list of ministries below.

Tim Downs volunteers with the weekly Call-Sign Bible study for veterans. In March they stopped their in-person meetings, but after a few weeks organized online meetings--“We just missed this group of people so much.” He says it’s encouraging to connect and hear what everyone is going through. They’re offering short discussions on topics like fear, anxiety, and isolation, and have spent time praying together.

Rachel Yensel with the Promise group (serving people whose family members or close friends are battling addiction) says it's worth struggling through the awkwardness of meeting online to continue to share their lives. She says quarantine, isolation, and the death of "normal" can exacerbate problems of addiction and codependency so they’ve been talking specifically about transparency, boundaries, and healthy relating. “It's just been really great hear the different ways people are wrestling with God's truth, and claiming His promises during such an uncertain time. These online meetings have helped us share about our struggles, encourage one another, and have accountability to move towards God's peace and comfort amidst the unknown.”

Access (Dwell’s ministry to people with special needs) has moved its twice a month Bible study to Zoom. Greg Roth with Access says these meetings have been exciting and have helped people stay connected during the shutdown. Greg says, “Some folks haven't been working and they miss the social aspects of their jobs probably more than the pay checks.” He says those who’ve joined seem very appreciative and encouraged about the opportunity to fellowship, pray and learn about God.

Here's a list of Dwell ministries meeting online, with contact information. If you don't see your ministry, please reach out to the leader listed on the Dwell website.

ClassThanks to technology and the quick work of the Equipping Division staff, Dwell continues to offer great classes to equip you to understand the Bible and accurately apply it to your life. Over the last few weeks the division has been offering a reduced schedule of 6 classes, and is now preparing for 5 additional classes for the second half of the spring quarter.

Just added this week: Reasons to Believe with Doug O'Malley and the Confluence of Character and Competence in Leadership with Josh Benadum. Doug will explore common objections to Christianity and some responses. Josh's workshop dives into the connection between character and leadership, and how pursuing character often leads to greater effectiveness in serving God.

Registration is now open for these classes, and 2 others (Mike Sullivan's 6-week class on Daniel, as well as Lee Campbell's 5 week class on the minor prophets.) You can read more about these classes and register at xenos.org/classes. There is also a class on creating a great ministry house

Class Registrar Kim Phillips says the COVID-19 restrictions started just as they were finishing up winter quarter classes and preparing to launch the spring quarter schedule. Kim says they quickly evaluated the classes they were planning, and decided to postpone or cancel several classes that either had low registration or wouldn't work in an online format.

Kim says, with so much uncertainty at that time, they made plans, but had to continually change those plans as new information came in. The move to an online format created a number of obstacles--creating an online payment portal, modifying class documents, arranging Zoom and Google Classroom links, and training teachers and assistants on remote technology--that the staff overcame in a short period of time.

While not ideal, Kim says the online arrangement has allowed a blessing: people around the world are taking these classes. She says people are participating from South America and Africa, as well as cities in the U. S. 

There's a new class starting soon designed to help those living in a ministry house create a great ministry house--one that is welcoming, unified, and makes a difference in the lives of both residents and outsiders.

ClassThe 3-week class, Life Together—Being Part of a Great Ministry House, will offer strategies for developing a strong vision for your house, along with strategies for promoting that vision. It will also cover common problems and situations people in ministry houses encounter. Conrad Hilario and John Ross will lead online teachings, with questions available for house members to discuss together afterward.

John says it’s an exciting subject to consider. “Dwell ministry houses are a key wineskin God uses to make our church vibrant and unique. We want to offer as much training as possible for leaders and members to make their houses as good as they can be.” He says the class will also be helpful to high school seniors and others who are considering moving into a ministry house. John says it’ll help them think through what the Bible says about deep, loving fellowship and how a ministry house can help make that happen.

The class starts May 27th, and is free--no registration required. There’ll be more information coming soon about how to participate.

On March 12th the Dwell Pacesetters’ ministry was ready to launch a bi-weekly Bible study for senior citizens. But that same day Ohio issued COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings, and it was put on hold.

Pacesetters

That hasn’t stopped the Pacesetters’ ministry from serving seniors in a different way—both those in Dwell and those in the community. Pacesetters has paired 80 Dwell seniors with younger volunteers who are checking in with them by phone, chatting with them, and praying with them. If needed, they’re picking up groceries and running other errands so the seniors can stay safely at home.

Katie McCauley is in the college ministry, and she and some of her roomates are volunteering. She says the older woman she's connected with seemed very appreciative, and that a short phone call went a long way to be helpful.

And Katie says she, herself, found it helpful--"I was encouraged to hear an example of what it looks like to follow God for the long haul. And it was challenging for me to hear the woman request prayers for her family's safety and talk about how much she missed seeing people in our fellowship." Katie encourages you to consider becoming a volunteer since it's something you can do from home.

In addition, Pacesetters has gathered up encouraging notes and cards for people who live at Friendship Village in Columbus. The group dropped off more than 200 cards to be distributed there. This is in addition to hundreds more cards and letters from individual home churches.

If you’d like to be a part of these volunteer efforts, contact Pacesetters at pacesetters@dwellcc.org