Churches quietly work to help people in need
In a recent column, George Will highlights the work of Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and his effort to “reclaim felons” by addressing their need for practical work skills, social skills and job interview/work clothes, as in pricey “steel-tipped work boots.” Lifers are encouraged to share their talents, honed in prison, with those who, after they complete their sentences, will re-enter society. Will writes that the program, led by Mohr, a devout Lutheran, is working “with many assists from the churches.”
Some claim that churches today have lost touch with the culture. People seek other avenues for challenge and refreshment than participating in faith communities. Pew polls herald the decline in numbers of those who identify as “religious” and the rise of the “nones” who claim no religious identification.
Still, as they always have, churches quietly work to meet the needs of those on the fringes of society. Whether it’s health care, refugee resettlement, disaster relief, food, shelter or companionship, churches create ways to connect – to help those who need help.
A friend, a voice for atheism, gleefully tells me, “Soon we’ll throw off the shackles of religion, and we’ll all just do good because it’s the right thing to do. We won’t need God.” Indeed, anyone can work for good in the world. But my friend’s view of human nature seems rather fanciful; most people need a reason and a hope.
Churches know why they go into prisons, nursing homes and dark corners on desolate streets where the homeless seek shelter. They go to minister to those without wealth or power, to those easily forgotten. Why? Because that’s where he goes, where he works, and they want to join him.