Editor’s Note: Dennae Pierre has been such a blessing to Roosevelt Community
Church. Married to Pastor Vermon, mom to five (including a newbie), co-director of
Surge Network, and entirely active on the Community-Front, she recently penned this
piece—as well as “Ten Prayers for the New Year” in Christianity Today. – Jennifer Bell
Westward Ho is an iconic building in downtown Phoenix, and for fifteen years our church members have
walked or driven by that building and prayed for our neighbors living there. We’ve hoped for a relational
connection, and in the last two years, the Lord has answered our prayers. Not only are residents
participating in our community, but they are leading us into greater love of neighbor.
Recently, a group of RCC folks at Westward Ho envisioned a night where we could have a meal for the
homeless. Little did they know that one of the kids in our children’s ministry had been praying for God to
bring more people who are homeless to Roosevelt. This RCC kid had even been collecting money for the
homeless on Sundays! Pretty soon this child and some older single women in our church were planning a
dinner for the homeless.
On New Year’s Eve, we hosted a meal for about fifteen homeless individuals and we had a beautiful
night. This simple story reminds me of the beauty of God’s people in three ways:
God has a brilliant design for how He intends to advance His love, justice, and mercy in the
world. It is through the Spirit-empowered activity of His people. This meal wasn’t initiated by any pastors
or deacons or staff. It really came to life because of the prayers and action of our church family. All of our
initiative love is necessary, from that of the seven-year-olds to the seventy-year-olds. All of us have been
given a role to play in God’s unfolding story. I pray RCC continues to be a place where ALL church
members—young and old—can dream, plan, and lead us into greater love of neighbor.
Our meal was quiet and slow. There was time to meet people, learn names, and hear stories. It’s
incredibly important that we create space in our lives to be present with those suffering and marginalized.
This evening was less about fixing a significant problem in our city and more about an opportunity to
receive the gift of being present with those suffering. May we grow in our capacity to be present with
Love of neighbor is simple. Sometimes we make service and love far more complex than it is. This
entire evening was easy. Being available to respond to those around us in consistent ways comes from
practicing our faith in the most ordinary ways. This time, it was a few hours out of our day and a simple
meal. What if this year we were intentional each week to eat meals with people different from us? To find
simple ways to be hospitable? To initiate creating a sense of belonging in a world that is lonely?
Roosevelt Church, in this new year, let’s pray for attentive ears to hear the Spirit’s leading to participate in
simple acts of service and love. Let’s look for ways to add comfort, beauty, and space to move toward our