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Rev. Maurice Horne reflects on Flint Coming together
I have a passion for giving back to the community, especially for feeding the community. If the community had not been there for me when I was growing up, I would not have survived.
“As the sixth of 10 children, raised by my mother because my alcoholic father was never there, I know what it’s like to be hungry. During the first eight years of my life I experienced such hunger that I can never forget it. There were times when there was nothing to eat and I would sneak over to a neighbor house and ask for a little something to eat. Thank God he never turned me away. I didn’t tell my mother about it until I was grown. I knew that if I told her back then, it would have only made her feel bad.
“Now as an adult, I understand that life happens. Dynamics change. Sometimes if a family member dies or health goes bad, you can easily find yourself without. Sometimes you just don’t have anywhere to go.
“That’s one reason I am so grateful our church can work with Catholic Charities! Since 2011 we’ve worked together running a food pantry, hosting the South Flint Soup Kitchen and operating a resource center to assist those in the greatest need. Through this beautiful collaboration we serve a delicious hot meal to between 60 and 120 people every weekday.
“Before we collaborated with Catholic Charities, we were serving about 40 TV dinners to hungry men, women and children each week. Now our soup kitchen serves around 2,000 meals every month. When Flint’s water went bad, we distributed 2,800 gallons of water to individuals and families facing this most basic need.
“From Monday through Sunday people sit at the table with neighbors they hadn’t talked with before, sharing each others stories, and feeling each other’s pain. Not judging, but joining hands and walking by faith. I get to build relationships with them and connect with others who want to help also. My parishioners love volunteering at the Soup Kitchen because they see that they’re making a difference.
“Do I have faith in Flint? Without a shadow of a doubt, I do! People are coming together. The barriers of distrust are slowing disappearing. I am the first African-American to serve as the pastor at Lincoln Park United Methodist Church in Flint MI, and our parish is thriving! We’re building relationships, uniting within and outside our church community to eliminate blight. I have joined with others in an ecumenical prayer group asking God’s help for the mayor to guide our community out of this situation. We pray with the mayor once a month.
“It took many years for Flint to get into the predicament it’s in, and it won’t be corrected overnight. This isn’t a solo journey, but this is a collaborative journey for the people of our city to take together. I believe that we can either be part of the solution or part of the problem. I believe that more and more people are searching for solutions.
There are times when we run into walls and can’t move forward, and we’re not sure how to solve the problems we face. When this happens, then I think about my favorite bible passage which is Jeremiah 33:3. In it God says, “Call on me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
“God manifests when we call on him. The money and the answers are there somewhere! We just have to find them. And if we work together, I’m confident that we will.”