The Front Porch at HOPE

Neighborhoods in the past, had at least one primary difference from our 21st century neighborhoods of today; many of those homes had a front porch. The front porch was a gathering place for impromptu encounters. While “porch-sitting” tremendous information could be accrued and conversations could occur. A front porch can make all the difference.


At HOPE we are choosing to spend our days on or around the front porch,
developing a real awareness of and becoming known by our neighbors.


The front porch encourages social interaction. We want to develop informal, some might say real connections with people; and unexpected partners that share common goals even if we don’t share all of the same beliefs.


Front porches welcome interruptions. Because we seek relationships with, and a legitimate love for our neighbors, interruptions are welcomed and expected. In our post-Christian context, a place with un-coded and non-cryptic practices is needed to provide a comfortable connection to our neighbors.


The front porch is where lemonade is served. It’s a space we live in and we understand the hospitality of a comfortable rocking chair. In practice, this requires us to translate our faith for our neighbors.


Who is our neighbor? Someone once asked Jesus this same question …


30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.


31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. 33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’


36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?”
37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”


Looking out from HOPE’s front porch. Who is our neighbor?


We have neighbors throughout Camden and the surrounding area, including our neighbors at Urban Promise, the Neighborhood Center, and Urban Mission Fellowship. From our front porch, we see needs that can be met by us and we are inspired to serve. Every week, many of our HOPE community, serve these neighbors.


We’ve been connecting with Habitat for Humanity who are building homes for our neighbors in Burlington county; and Stop Hunger Now who provide needed meals for our neighbors around the world.


We also serve many of our neighbors weekly through our food pantry ministry.


Haiti and Cuba are in our neighborhood too. Every spring we visit the House of Abraham in Jacmel, Haiti and every fall we visit the church in Havana, Cuba. We’ve visited our neighbors in Haiti and Cuba so often, we are no longer seen as neighbors, but family. That’s sort of what happens with good neighbors.


We still have many neighbors to meet. Like the good Samaritan, our desire is to serve those in need.


And serve a lot of lemonade.


@ HOPE #weServe

Filed Under: Missions, Missions Feature