[Hpn] Homeless in Franklin NH from the Senior pastors view !
Fri, 15 Sep 2000 07:27:04 -0400
TO HOMELESS GROUPS HOUSING ADVOCATES AND DISENCHANTED ALL OVER THE
WORLD!THESE ARE THE WORDS OF A MUCH GREATER MAN THAN I!PLEASE READ!
A Brother In The Homeless Struggle
Bill Tinker /founder of NHHomeless
Does it really matter who gets credit? We are, at best, servants
God. Let us be satisfied to give Him the credit for anything good that
happens. We can take responsibility for the mistakes and failures and,
I am sending you a copy of a letter we are sending out. It is a
summary of what has happened with New Covenant Fellowship and the condemned
buildings. It's pretty concise and may be a way to bring people up to
with accuracy and ease. So if you want to pass it on to your friends, do
NEW COVENANT FELLOWSHIP
P.O. BOX 252
FRANKLIN, N.H. 03235-9999
To our brothers and sisters in the kingdom of God and of His Messiah:
It may sound crazy, but we believe God has given the City of Franklin, New
Hampshire into our hands. We have hardly more than placed our foot on the
land, but our little storefront church has become a key issue in the city,
made headlines in the State and raised eyebrows around New England. And
God has given us an opportunity to establish an outreach to the poor and to
the youth that we believe will change the character of this former
and open the way for a revival in the Lakes Region that will impact New
Hampshire, New England and beyond.
Franklin has been a rock-filled field that has resisted the seeds of the
gospel for generations. It has been called a graveyard for evangelical
preachers. We knew from experience that Franklin would not be easy, that
whatever spiritual forces controlled this city, they were deeply entrenched
and stubborn. But if it is a citadel of Satan, we believe the Lord has
shown us that His time has come for Franklin, and that this city is, in
fact, the key to revival in the Lakes Region and beyond.
God has assembled a ministry team with a lot of experience here. First, he
called Dennis Murphree. Dennis ministered in Franklin for years, then left
the area and built a successful business in Washington State. He then
returned to Arkansas, his home state, where he was renewed in the Spirit.
God called Dennis back to Franklin where he started to build a church.
Kuehn grew up in the Lakes Region but moved to Indiana to prepare for
ministry. God called Karl and his family and another ministerial student,
Brent Pasley, to New Hampshire to help Dennis in Franklin. Bob Mears, who
had been a Pastor in Franklin in the late sixties, early seventies and
in the eighties, was also called back to Franklin to work with Dennis.
Last winter God told us to move our meeting place from a remodeled mill to
the worst street in town, Franklin Street, in the decaying inner city. We
began interceding for the City of Franklin. We met before daybreak on
Tuesdays and at other times we walked the streets praying for the
sometimes we drove around the city interceding. In March the mayor asked
churches to help promote a spiritual revitalization of the city. We took
that as God's sign to us that the gate of Franklin was open to us and the
city was ripe for a spiritual awakening.
Dennis had studied the history of Franklin and God had showed him the
principality that has held Franklin in its grip. It is a principality of
greed and hardness of heart toward the poor. In the nineteenth century the
City of Franklin relocated the poor to a farm outside the city in what
be called in our times a concentration camp. Another principality we
uncovered from Franklin's history was a spirit of infidelity. In the 1800s,
to encourage industry in the city, the authorities of Franklin promised
industrial firms ten years of tax-free operation. After seven years the
city went back on its promise, provoking lawsuits and retarding the
industrial growth of the city.
The strategy God gave to New Covenant Fellowship in addition to praying
the city was to show kindness to the poor who live here and be careful to
keep our promises. What the Lord has done has astonished us.
On the opposite side of Franklin Street from the storefront where our
church meets were three run-down apartment houses. We began praying for
them and the people who lived there. Some were blue-collar workers, some
were on welfare; there were children with learning disabilities and adults
with addictions and mental problems. Sometimes there were fights among the
residents and their friends who hung out on the street in front of the
buildings. There was always trash.
We wanted to help. Providentially, we met the owner, Morgan Kraus, a young
minister from Long Island, New York, who supported his ministry by his
business interests. He hired Karl Kuehn to manage the apartments and Karl
worked hard to keep the apartments in good repair and to keep the grounds
Soon we heard that the City was planning to take the buildings by eminent
domain, destroy them and put a parking lot in their place. The city had no
plans to replace the buildings - 16 apartment units - and that meant that
many of the people would be forced to relocate, for there is a shortage of
affordable housing in Franklin.
Dennis understood in the Spirit that the act of the city to destroy the
apartments of the poor was the work of the same principality that had
operated in Franklin's past - hardness of heart toward the poor. As in the
past, its policy is to pursue prosperity by getting rid of the poor. That
principality continues to hold the city in its grip.
We knew we had to resist it.
A day or two before the city was scheduled to take possession of the
buildings, we bought them from Morgan Kraus. We hoped to keep them
for housing for the poor. With Morgan's help, we worked very hard in a
short period of time to make repairs and renovations - a step of faith. We
believe Jesus wants those buildings for housing for the poor. We believe
that with prayer and local management the buildings can be kept neat, clean
and serviceable. And we have calculated that with the revenues from rent,
we can finance an effective outreach to the community.
Of course, we clashed with the city government that wants the buildings
destroyed and the people removed to other communities where they will
someone else's problem and expense. The struggle between our little
and city hall has been a source of newspaper stories in the Lakes Region,
New Hampshire and beyond all summer long.
We have announced our intention to challenge the city in court on the
eminent domain seizure. If we prevail in the legal dispute with the city,
can move ahead. The demand for affordable rental units is high. Well
managed, the apartments should provide enough to pay all expenses and
purchase a multi-purpose building we need for outreach. There is a chance
that we can fight city hall and win.
The city has committed fraud in the act of seizing the buildings. And it
on the wrong side of a controversy with God. We can win if we can prove
fraud, and we can win if the settlement mandated by the court is too high.
Franklin is not a wealthy city. The court might decide on a fair
compensation price for the properties that is too costly for the city
budget. In that case, the city might restore the buildings to us. But as
things stand now, the city has taken the apartments and has announced its
intention to move ahead with plans to raze them and build a parking lot.
will appeal the taking in the courts, but the litigation could go on for
months. And we sense that there isn't a lot of time to act. We have an
opportunity today that we need to take today.
Our plans to reach the community include the purchase a multi-purpose
building nearby. It is already outfitted for a soup kitchen for the poor,
recreational facility for young people, and a large meeting hall. There
much for young people to do in Franklin. Karl Kuehn and Brent Pasley have
begun to establish a relationship with some young people in the community.
With this facility, we could provide wholesome recreation for the youth.
would give us a context in which to present the gospel to the young people.
We think we know how to reach the youth with the word of God in a way that
will make sense to them. And the poor of Franklin have come to understand
that we are speaking out and acting on their behalf. A momentum has
in Franklin and we believe it is important to keep it going. We are not
afraid to step out in faith, but we can't do it alone.
We believe the time has come to lay claim to Franklin, New Hampshire for
Jesus and the kingdom of God. We are committed for the long haul. An
effectual door has begun to open to us and we intend to go through it. We
are asking God for help to make Franklin a caring community where the poor
are welcome and are cared for.
The Lord has been helping us in remarkable ways. But we are a small
and can't do it by ourselves. We believe God is calling others to help
us -- maybe you are one of them.
1. We need intercessors to pray. We are working on establishing
round-the-clock prayer. If prayer is your calling, let us know the time
when you can intercede for Franklin, and we will put you on the schedule
keep you informed of needs to pray for.
2. We need financial help. Ours is a small church without significant
material resources. And ministry to the poor is costly. We are trusting
God to supply the needs of the ministry. If giving is your gift and
Franklin is a good place to employ it.
3. We need people to join us and work alongside of us in Franklin. The
is already beyond us.
We believe that a spiritual earthquake has already begun in Franklin, and
soon it will shake the Lakes Region, the State of New Hampshire and send
tremors throughout New England. We believe this is the end-time shaking
spoken of it Scripture. When this shaking is finished, the only thing left
standing will be God's kingdom. It's the right time to invest in the
kingdom of God, and Franklin, New Hampshire is a good place to start.
For and with