For Immediate Release
(OCTOBER 13, 2020) Bowling Green, KY – Local non-profit Hope House Ministries launched New Leaf Service, Maintenance & Repair in 2019 with the intention to match the skills of residents in its 12-month addiction recovery program, Program Living, with local businesses and homeowners who need service-based work completed.
In 2020, Hope House Ministries entered into a contract with the City of Bowling Green to mow five city parks. These five parks have been maintained throughout the 2020 mowing season. This partnership with the City of Bowling Green has been valuable to both Hope House and the men enrolled in Program Living. The partnership has helped restore residents’ dignity, sense of purpose, and provided the opportunity for them to learn new skills beneficial to their employment readiness and eventual full-time employment after six months of program completion.
Along with these valuable skills and principles, Hope House’s partnership with the City of Bowling Green provides an opportunity for residents to earn income from Hope House. This allows them to care for their recovery needs and their families while they are apart from one another. Hope House is honored to partner with the City of Bowling Green to help reduce city expenses and serve all Bowling Green citizens during this season of economic uncertainty.
Hope House, founded in 2009, is a faith-based community development organization that exists to alleviate physical and spiritual poverty through gospel restoration by partnering with local churches, businesses, and community members in Bowling Green. Hope House believes poverty is much more than lacking material provisions and possessions, but instead, that poverty is rooted in broken relationships. The organization’s goal is to help a person find restoration in all areas of life.
On October 2, the Justice Action Network released Episode 7 of its Unconventional Series, titled The Road to Recovery. To close out National Recovery Month, this episode focused on issues of mental health and drug use and how they intersect with the justice system and the need for policy reforms. Part 2 of this episode featured Bryan Lewis and Jon Calloway from Hope House, in conversation with Coalition for Public Safety Board Member Kelley Paul.
Recently we have witnessed the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Their lives were tragically ended by white police officers and community members. It is clear these three sacred lives were taken unjustly and reminds us of the many black lives that have been taken unjustly at the hands of the white community. Myself and the Hope House staff reject these murderers’ actions and stand with the black community in opposing and rejecting the unjust deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, among others. These precious image-bearers of God were husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and valuable members of their communities and our nation.
These recent events have shown us how far we, as a nation, have to go to fight back the injustice toward and oppression of the black community. At Hope House, we believe the Scriptures to be true, and the Bible tells us that all people are created in the image of God and have inherent worth, value, and purpose in the eyes of God. It is one thing to say someone is created in the image of God, but it is something completely different to then treat that person as an image-bearer of God.
The disgusting and grotesque deaths we have witnessed have grieved our staff and families. We are heartbroken, confused, angry and frustrated. We all agree something has to change, but how? We know that, as an organization, we must continue to press on with our mission to see our community restored through gospel restoration. We must listen to and partner with our brothers and sisters to empower their voices to be heard and work toward mutual betterment of our nation, starting in our own community.
The staff and I believe, with great conviction, that the only hope we have to tear down the walls of hostility, racism and oppression that have caused great hurt, trauma, fear, anger, sadness, and grief, is through the power of Jesus! We have been praying and continue to pray that the Gospel is the foundation of our words, motivation, and choices we make moving forward. We know this: Jesus sees people of all colors, created people of all colors, and values people of all colors to have inherent worth and purpose.
We long for the day when Jesus will return to make all things new, restore all our broken relationships and establish the new Heavens and new Earth! Until then, we will live in the tension of striving for justice but knowing complete justice and peace is impossible on this side of Heaven. However, we will not wait idly. We will fight against injustice and in favor of God’s peace that surpasses all understanding. We will love unconditionally, listen intentionally, and act justly in a way that honors the black community and gives honor to our Creator.
Bryan Lewis, Executive Director
Hope House Ministries
In 1985, Donald and Susan Hazlewood purchased the property at 445 Glen Lily Road from the Willoughby family. As small business owners, Susan operated a local florist company called Canary Cottage. For 24 years, they loved their family, raising four children, and served their community while living in this home. When Donald passed in 2009, Susan moved out of the home, and it remained vacant. Susan's daughter and son-in-law, Pam and Keith, began asking the Lord how they should best steward Pam's childhood home.
They trusted scripture like Psalms 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart;" Matthew 7:7, "Ask and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you;" and finally, Psalms 32:8, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go." God made his instructions clear to them, and they simply obeyed. Pam writes, "It brings our heart so much joy to announce that Susan Hazlewood has donated her property on Glen Lily Road to Hope House Ministries. Susan’s prayer along with Keith and I is that all who enter would hear the Gospel and choose to anchor their lives on Jesus Christ. May the Lord continue to bless this ministry and all those who are a part of furthering God’s Kingdom."
Even 35 years ago, the Lord was at work to restore lives in West End Bowling Green. Little did the Hazlewoods know, when they purchased their family home, that Hope House would be building Program Living for Women and a new ministry center on land that touches the back edge of their property in 2020. We don't yet know God's plans for this addition to our new property on Glen Lily Road, but just as Pam and Keith trusted the Lord to show them what to do with the property, we trust that He will guide us in step with his plan for this property and our neighborhood.
I am prayerful and hopeful that you and your extended family are doing well. For all of us, COVID-19 has changed the direction of our lives in how we work, live and play. It has been a challenge for all walks of life. But with this challenge I have seen the majority of our community respond with excellence, generosity and sacrifice. I’m grateful for the many healthcare professionals who have sacrificed themselves for our community, Fruit of the Loom and other local businesses that are stepping up to produce medical masks, and the many stories of banks, landlords, BGMU, WRECC and ATMOS assisting businesses and homeowners to ease financial hardship.
To the many of you who have given sacrificially, even in the face of current and future financial uncertainty, I want to thank you! To our partnering churches who continue to give to Hope House even when your giving is down, thank you. Though the context is not identical, the generosity I am seeing reminds me of the generosity of The Churches of Macedonia in 2 Corinthians 8, “For in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part."
God is giving the Church and Hope House a great opportunity to extend hope, peace, and the love of Jesus in the midst of much fear and worry during this pandemic. At the same time, we must practice wisdom in how we associate with others for the health of our neighbor.
As we walk that tightrope, I want to thank you for adjusting with us. We've had to cancel weekly dinners that so many groups graciously provide for our residents of Program Living for Men. We've had to close our Community Store, and in turn, stop all donation pick-ups and drop-offs, and these are just a couple examples of how this pandemic has impacted our work.
Currently we have three top priorities:
1. Protect our staff, their families and our volunteers.
Relief is critical during this time of uncertainty and loss for so many. The sad reality for many is that it will take three, six, twelve or more months to rebuild their lives. Hope House will be here after the pandemic ends to help with housing, transportation to work because of a repossessed car, training to get a better paying job and manage finances, and help with recovery because unfortunately, this will cause addiction and relapse for many.
Please pray for us and consider how you can join us in the rebuilding of our community that will hopefully begin soon. In the meantime, continue checking on your neighbors, offer to pick up prescriptions and food for the most vulnerable around you, and most importantly, don’t miss this opportunity to spend time with Jesus and your family.
Praying for you and our city!