ELM Ministry Grant update: Spirit of Hope in Detroit, MI

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One of the six ministry grant programs Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries is supporting this year is Spirit of Hope. Proclaim member the Rev. Matthew Bode will be expanding his duties from being the sole pastor at Spirit of Hope to being part of a team supporting five Detroit Lutheran churches.  

This will be a new multi-congregation parish.  Spirit of Hope and its new partner congregations serve a diverse community across Detroit.  The funds provided by ELM will help Spirit of Hope maintain its ability to support a full time pastor in a lower income community.

Spirit of Hope

Who We Are

Spirit of Hope, born in 2006 at the coming together of two congregations, one Episcopal and one ELCA, is a fully affirming congregation in the heart of Detroit.  Our faith leads us to visions of justice based on charity, education and advocacy.  Located in a diverse community in race, income level and sexual expression, we are leading lives of hope and love in our city and world as followers of Jesus Christ.

What We Do

Spirit of Hope 2

As one of very few fully affirming, majority African American congregations of any denomination in our city, we have become a well-known spiritual home for those who identify as transgender, lesbian, gay bisexual and allies.  Justice opportunities cross lines of race, income level, gender, sexual orientation and gender expression.  By speaking openly and honestly about places of oppression, we are able to move to places of power and healing.

Today, important ministries include our Pray and Play Youth Basketball Ministry, Spirit Spit Open Mic, Spirit Farm Urban Farm Project, an HIV prevention and support ministry, food pantry, community kitchen and more. We are currently the lead church working with neighbors to rehabilitate a local park dedicated to Rosa Parks and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In addition, we are helping to facilitate the renovation of a neighborhood apartment building and build a local community land trust. We are a regular participant in Motor City Pride, Michigan’s largest Pride festival held just a mile from our location.

The Future

Spirit of Hope is blessed to have four partner ELCA congregations in the city working toward further cooperation.  Soon to have one shared staff, we will be able to learn and grow from one another’s strengths and partner strategically.  As an affirming congregation with an openly gay pastor, Spirit of Hope is able to teach our partner congregations about moving from being welcoming congregations to fully affirming.

The influence has already been dramatic and uplifting as ELM supports our pastoral staff in providing LGBT leadership in five ELCA, majority African American congregations.  God is good and the Spirit is at work!

For more on ELM’s Ministry Grants go to: https://www.elm.org/elm-grants/