When I came to my church, Dawson Family of Faith, nearly 30 years ago, they were already involved in immigrant ministries, long before it became the popular thing to do. Women invited immigrant women into their homes to learn one another’s customs and Dawson’s ESL program had people from all over the world going through classes at any one time. The Spanish language service and Arabic service became strong churches that continue to share the Dawson facility. The ESL program continues through committed teachers who share their faith and their homes, like Danny and Linda Godfrey Stephens.
In 1997 our church with others started M-Power to meet the needs of the impoverished in the Birmingham community. There are the ongoing prison ministries, hunger and homeless ministries, and teams going into the poor communities of Alabama, and the world, to bring love and hope. Dawson opened Kids Connection, to provide for the children of low income families. And in another week we will open the Dawson Learning Center, a GED program for adults .
Through all my years at Dawson, we and other primarily white churches have partnered with our sister black churches to fight prejudice, hatred, violence, and poverty in Birmingham. I have no doubt it is the churches as well as many faith-based non-profits in Birmingham that are having the greatest impact in moving Birmingham forward in these areas.
Dawson is one example of many churches throughout our nation, congregations of imperfect people who may differ in many of their views, but even so, are living out the gospel.