Hello Folks, this is the inaugural blog of Jesus Loves Detroit Church! We envision regularly posting this blog, along with a podcast, and YouTube videos. We are neophytes in this world of communication, but are very excited to share these, along with our brand new website! We wish to share three of our favorite things, Jesus, Love, and Detroit. Our story began 10 years ago, when my mother-in-law, Dolores, was diagnosed with lung cancer. My wife Bridget was her primary caregiver, along with a healthy support system of husband, and other children. Dolores had top-notch medical care, health insurance, money, safe home, transportation, and family and friends to help her on this journey. As I watched Bridget help, and care for her mother, I was amazed at the love she poured out to her mother. It was sacrificial love that sometimes inconvenienced us, or burdened us, but we were so glad to offer help, and support to her mother. It was a higher calling, above regular life, to help someone at such a critical time in her life. Even though she was terribly sick, and dying, she put others first. She had planned an Alaskan cruise for her children, their spouses, and their grandchildren. She was determined to make it happen. Off we went, sixteen folks to a lifetime cruise. We partied, and Dolores was sick in her room, the smell of food making her sicker. We came back home, and Dolores died two weeks later. What stuck with me were three things. #1. The love Dolores had for her family, despite being in constant pain, and dying. #2. The love Bridget had for her mother, that superseded any other obligations in her life at that time. #3. That there were lots of people, who were sick, or dying, and had no health insurance, money, safe home, transportation, or anyone to help them!
Along with these realizations, and the financial crash and recession of 2008, I changed my life. I loved being a business owner, and chasing money. I had founded and nurtured several businesses in my lifetime. I opened my first restaurant at an age of 24, and had a small chain ten years later. Now, myself and my real estate colleagues, were on our way to being millionaires, and that’s all that mattered. The housing crash, General Motors and Chrysler failing, and Detroit filing bankruptcy, jolted me into reality! I had been chasing the wrong dream. I had gotten good, at things that didn’t matter. The career ladder I was climbing, was leaning against the wrong building! I had been a Christian for 27 years. Now it was time to truly be a follower of Jesus Christ, to study his instructions, and most importantly, to act and live them out, to sacrificially serve my fellow brothers and sisters, like Jesus had done with his life on earth. Put people first, over money and myself. I actively and regularly volunteered and joined two after-school programs in Detroit. Farm Stand Kids, and Growing Healthy Kids. Both operated out of Earthworks Detroit Farm, under the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. I started delivering Meals on Wheels, in two separate community’s. I became a reading mentor in Detroit’s inner city schools, under a literacy program, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, and his wife Yvette, initiated. Jesus Christ is my model, leader, and helper. It was hard sometimes to put my comfort, my resources, and my money, to help others when I went without. I befriended a man named Stanley Roland Loyd, who was just starting his own journey with stage 4 lung cancer, that had metastasized all over his body. It started out as one man with a truck, helping another man, who needed transportation for medical treatment. It evolved into us being best friends, and spending a whole lot of time together. This was a season where I was either the main caregiver of folks, or part of a team of caregivers. In a few short years, my best friend Stanley died of cancer, my dad, Andrew died of cancer. My wife Bridget, died of cancer. My father-in-law Perry, died of cancer. My uncle Paul, died of cancer. My youngest brother , Dave, died of cancer. My mother Marion, died. At the end of this season, I was diagnosed with cancer. All this death made me realize, it all points to LIFE! Jesus, when asked what were the most important of the commandments answered, Love God above all else, and love your fellow man and woman better than yourself. All of the others will be accomplished if you do these two. I moved to a cabin in the deep woods. There is a chapel on the property that I spent hours, and days in. Reading, writing, praying, and thinking. After two years God told me, that’s enough time, you are now ready, move back downstate, marry Nancy, and put your heart into Jesus loves Detroit Church, or quit talking about it! Today, as I write this, the church is thriving after two years, along with my lovely wife and spiritual partner, Nancy. I am out of this cancer treatment, now over four years. There is a new cancer that is trying to get me, but seriously, this does not bother me in the least, after everything I have experienced. If you rely on people solutions, there is a good chance of failure. With God, all things are possible.
Detroit is my birthplace. My mom and dad were newlyweds, renting an upper flat in Highland Park, my dad finishing his education at Wayne State when I was born. We moved out of state for a while and then settled in the suburbs of Detroit. Detroit was the nearest big city, and it was DETROIT! Motor City, Motown, and Rock n Roll. Windsor, Ontario was just across the Detroit River, and for a buck, we could go play and fish there. As an adult, I brought my kids to Detroit regularly. We visited museums, inner-city churches, restaurants, and all the sports stadiums. We rollerbladed Belle Isle, and swam in the Detroit River, in Delray. When I ran the Free Press marathon for the first time in 1998, my three sons ran the 5k. Today our ministry of Jesus Loves Detroit Church, is to the beautiful street people of Detroit. Spending years on the street ministering to marginalized folks is our calling. Detroit is on a roll right now. Not for everybody, but economically it is headed in the right direction. There are thousands of success stories of folks making a go of it. Sure there are rough, depressed area’s. Just like your state, or town. I know, because chances are, I have walked your streets, and eaten at your shelters. The people of Detroit, are the most generous, loving, resourceful, artistic, entrepreneurial, tough folks I have ever met. When we feed, clothe, and shelter folks, they are extremely grateful. When we have a big ole Jesus Party, which we call a Feast, and feed up to 300 folks, we offer the rite of communion. You would be amazed and encouraged, on how many folks who want to participate in communion, or how many Bibles we give away, or how many touching friendships we have developed. It’s easy for you to follow Jesus when you are called from your warm couch, of watching the Detroit Lions play football, to a full Thanksgiving dinner, in your safe home. Try praising Jesus eating cold turkey from a Salvation Army truck, and sleeping in a shelter, in a folding chair with 200 other folks. These folks really know Jesus.
Thanks for reading if you have stayed this long. We hope to illuminate in future talks, the saving grace of God who created this universe, who designed a path for your life, whose spirit can be your helper, and how to live happy, joyful, triumphant lives, no matter your circumstances. Kevin