My Move Out Story: Warming the Homeless

Terri Cracchiolo

Terri Cracchiolo

Financial Analyst, Kensington Church

If you’ve spent a lot of time around Kensington lately, you may have heard the question, who are your people? In other words, what need or demographic tugs at your heart-strings? It’s the key to finding out what God has planted in you, and when you move out to meet that need, you will find yourself filled with joy!

Terri, a staff member working in Kensington’s Finance Department, answers that question easily, “My people are the homeless. In fact, when I ask friends to join me at the Soup Kitchen or Warming Center, they tease, “Yes, feed ‘Terri’s People.'”

Terri says that she pursued jobs in the field of Finance to make ends meet, but her heart longed to go into social work. “When I came to Kensington, I found outlets for what was in my heart.” For over ten years, Terri has worked for the local Warming Center in Clinton Township and Mount Clemens, which rotates locations between churches and other facilities. “We had no permanent hub for Clinton Twp campus, but as soon as we were breaking ground for the new building, I said to Sonja Maletta, Campus Director, ‘Now we can host!'” Terri was giddy over this idea and described it as “a dream come true.”

Just one mile south of the new Clinton Twp campus is a large homeless community, and Terri knows many of them by name from her years of volunteering. Within months of the new hub opening, Terri was on the phone scheduling to host the Warming Center for a week. She knew she would need an army of volunteers and donations. “I made 140 donation slips for socks, hats, hygiene products, and meal ingredients, and within two weeks every volunteer position and donation slip was filled! People were actually frustrated that they couldn’t be a part – there wasn’t room. People at CT are crazy – in the best way!”

Clinton Twp campus opened its doors on Super Bowl weekend to around 80 guests, and the game was already playing on the big screens. Terri said that this was special for the guests, that it was like being invited into something exciting. She laughed remembering how Clyde, a tall man in his 30’s, went crazy when the Patriots pulled ahead. “You bet on the game, didn’t you?” she had teased him.

Mark, 62, a homeless man Terri knows from her years of volunteering asked her, “Who’s your favorite band?” When she listed a few, including Led Zeppelin, he was thrilled, “I love Led Zeppelin too!”

Often Terri keeps the conversation light, but she also has countless eye-opening moments, such as when one guest asked, “Why not just say ‘we’re having dinner together’ instead of calling it a ‘soup kitchen?'” Treating the guests with dignity, and sharing the experience that is being human is important. “Sometimes they just need a smile or even to be called by name. And, we make sure sit down to eat with them.”

Terri said to one guest, “Joe, your name tag is upside-down!” And his quip of a response was, “That’s how I remember who I am!”

When others ask pointed questions like, ‘Why don’t they just get a job?’ Terri’s response shows the heart of Jesus: “We don’t need to concern ourselves with where they’ve been or their future, but we need to love them right now in the present.”

Terri is already looking forward to next year when Clinton Twp campus will again host the Warming Center. “I want to have the Big Game weekend again and have Super Bowl-themed food,” she says.

“I am so appreciative of the Kensington team for being onboard with me! We had a family of ten serve 100 people a hot meal – imagine that! And, another volunteer who prayed over every single bed site each night.”

Terri doesn’t do this because she has to or she should, it is life-giving to her. “Serving is a huge blessing!” she says. She encourages others to get up and move out to meet needs – “you’ll find love for these people you didn’t even know you had.”

***

Birmingham Campus Warming Center
Jan. 26 to Feb. 8
For the 8th year, the Birmingham campus is teaming up with Genesis Church in Royal Oak to staff a warming center that provides food, clothing and a warm place to sleep for men and women who have fallen on hard times. There are many opportunities to serve including providing dinner, packing lunches, on-site greeters and overnight hosts. Learn more and sign-up at kensingtonchurch.org/warmingcenter.

Clinton Township Campus Warming Center
Feb. 2 to Feb. 9
The Clinton Township campus is partnering with the Macomb County Warming Center to provide care for 80+ homeless men and women. There are many ways to serve the needy in our community who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets. Learn more and sign-up at kensingtonchurch.org/ctwarmingcenter.

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Birmingham Campus

We are offering a time for our congregation to gather after the 10am service for prayer in the Groves Auditorium, 20500 W 13 Mile Rd, Beverly Hills, MI 48025.

On Sunday evening, Dec 5, parents of high school and middle school students are invited to the second half of our Edge gathering at Genesis Church, 309 N Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067, at 6:15pm. We will have a breakout to equip parents in caring for themselves and processing pain with their children in times of tragedy.

Parents & Student Resources

Parents – self care is critical. It’s important to do your own processing with another adult so that you can be more present as your child processes. Here are tools that you can use to get you started.

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Counselors Are Needed After Tragedy

“The aftermath of the Oxford shooting tragedy will undoubtedly result in traumatic symptoms and experiences across our communities for quite some time. Healing the brain through evidence-based therapies is absolutely possible with clinical guidance. There is a valuable village of Trauma Therapists with collective resources standing by for Oxford, for both direct and secondary survivors to engage in therapy. Until then, we honorably hold a sacred space, as students, families, staff and school partners continue to mourn.” -Laura Azoni, LMSW, Founder of Sanctuary Services

Orion Campus

We believe that unity at this time is more important than ever. Several churches in the area are partnering together to offer space for students to begin the process of healing.

We will have several grief and trauma specialists on site this Sunday evening at our Orion Campus (4640 S Lapeer Rd Lake Orion, MI 48359) from 5-6:30pm and will have a night of prayer, worship and an opportunity for students to process with each other.

Tate Myre Funeral:
Monday, 12.6 Visitation 1 to 8pm
Tuesday, 12.7 Visitation 10-12pm and funeral at Noon

Clinton Township Campus

We will be offering a time for our congregation to gather after each service for a time of corporate prayer in the Greatroom. Prayer will be offered at 10:15 am and 12:15 pm. (25000 Hall Rd, Charter Twp of Clinton, MI 48036)

This Sunday at 3:30 pm as a community we want to gather, pray and mourn together. We are all looking for answers and wondering why tragedy happens but we can find hope and peace in Jesus. 

Troy Campus

Join us Sunday night, December 5th for a Community Prayer Vigil at Kensington Church at 6:00 pm. Invite friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to come together for a time of hope and prayer. 

Following the Vigil, at 7:00 pm, there will be breakouts for students and for parents to process and be equipped in caring for themselves and those around in times of tragedy.

Marriage Classes

What grows marriages? Focusing on the two of you and being in community!
The Marriage Course includes seven sessions, designed to help couples invest in their relationship and build a strong marriage. Some couples do the course to intentionally invest in their relationship, others are looking to address more specific challenges. Either way, the course offers essential tools and practical ideas to help you build a relationship that lasts a lifetime. The Marriage Course is based on Christian principles but designed for all couples with or without a church background.

Please email marriage@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

Financial Peace University (FPU)

Financial Peace University (FPU) is a catalyst to help people live in financial freedom and enable them to have a posture of openhandedness. We have witnessed numerous Kensington families experience life change as a result of applying Biblical truths to their personal finances. The real blessing is seeing people create lives of margin that allow them to hear and respond to the Lord’s calling on their lives.

Please email discipleship@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

Bible Basics

Whether you are brand new to the Bible or have been reading it for decades, Bible Basics is a course that will help you understand the overall flow of the Bible. Over the course of several weeks, learn how the Bible came from the original writers to the English versions we have today. We’ll look at the big-picture story of the Bible and how all the individual books add to the whole. We’ll even learn a little about the history of the Jewish nation. But most of all, we’ll grow in our awe of the amazing author of this amazing book!

Please email discipleship@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

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Orion

Clinton Township

Alpha

What is my purpose? What value does the Bible have in my life? How do I pray? How can I grow in confidence to share my faith? These are the big questions that are at the heart of what it means to have a relationship with God. Alpha is a space to explore life’s big questions, to say what you think and to hear other people’s points of view. Over ten-weeks you will explore and discover while listening to weekly topics, participating in table discussion, and developing community. Alpha courses meeting in-person gather around a meal.

You don’t have to come for the whole series—just check it out for the first session and see what you think. No pressure.

Please email discipleship@kensingtonchurch.org with any questions.

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Clinton Township

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For additional questions, please contact giving@kensingtonchurch.org or call 248.786.0637

GROUP LEADER DEVELOPMENT

Together Again

updated June 23, 2021

It’s been life-giving to be in-person for our weekend services since last July when we reopened. If you haven’t yet, we invite you to join us in person sometime soon.

Reservations and ticketing have been discontinued at all our campuses.

Masks are optional at all services, events, and ministry gatherings for kids, students, and adults. We know that everyone needs to make the right health decisions for themselves and their family, so if you feel comfortable removing your mask, you may. And if you’d like to continue wearing a mask or face covering, you may do that as well. This is a personal choice that only you can decide what is best for yourself when attending in person at Kensington.

If you are sick, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or have possibly been exposed to COVID-19, please plan to stay home and participate in our services via our many online streaming options.

At the start of the pandemic, Kensington’s Executive Team commissioned a group of staff members as a COVID Task Force to establish protocols and procedures for the safety of our church community. Thanks for sticking with us throughout all the changes and adjustments over the past 15 months.

We’re grateful to be together again!