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OPEN TABLE MINISTRY


Open Table started with a chance encounter with a homeless man named Ernie who simply asked a youth group serving him a meal if he could come worship at their church. The adult youth workers were moved to agree to come the very next day to bring Ernie to their church service. Over the next few months, these church members brought Ernie to the church and back to the shelter each Sunday. As they came to more fully appreciate the complex set of obstacles that maintained Ernie in poverty and homelessness, they decided to convene a group of church members who had the professional gifts and life experiences related to the specific challenges that Ernie faced. The Table met every week for 8 months to develop and implement a stability plan to help Ernie access opportunities and overcome obstacles in areas including employment, housing, healthcare and transportation to empower his re-entry into the community. The coordinated efforts of the Table paved the way for Ernie to become an economically stable and a productive member of the community. Today, four years later, Ernie live on his own and has a job, a home, a car and lifelong friends. And Open Table has now grown to more than 80 Open Tables ministries in churches across the country and hope to double that number in 2012.

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