Many cities have seen unrest and even violence due to issues with police and claims of racial bias. One of those communities is Kenosha, Wisconsin – just across the border from Chicagoland.
There are clear signs God, through his people – ‘the church’ - is working to help the people of Kenosha. And, in reality, the plans were being laid well before the controversial incident where Jacob Blake was shot in August.
You can listen to our full podcast interview
“Several years ago, we had an event in our community that was really a turning point for us,” explains Pastor Bob Griffith. “We pulled together 30 different churches to try to help our community that needed food and services – and that was a very powerful event. It was a moment when we realized that if we work together and leverage the power of unity that we can be do much more for the glory of God than we could ever do alone.” With that initial project, “we gave away thousands of pounds of food and resources and medical and dental services, and people wanted to know what we were going to do next.” One Kenosha city leader even told Pastor Griffith, “This could be a model of how our community works together in the future.”
In time, the community coalition became known as “1HOPE.” Pastor Griffith is the founder of 1HOPE, a volunteer role, alongside his ministry position as executive pastor of the multi-campus Journey Church.
Today, the 1HOPE foundational layer gives Kenosha a spiritual and practical undergirding to cope with the unrest and uncertainty. After the violent protests, “There was fear in the eyes of the people. I had never seen it at that scale before,” it was a “fear of the unknown.” But rather than allowing panic to set in, “what that led to was a variety of amazing, incredible conversations in a very short period of time in our city with faith leaders, business leaders, and people from the public sector as well, all coming together. It was sort of a trifecta of communication that’s needed in order to move this kind of thing forward.” Pastor Griffith emphasizes, “And it happened! I believe that it happened because there was already a move of God in place in Kenosha around this kind of unity and conversation…”
Listen to our complete interview podcast below to share in the amazing work going on in Kenosha, and how people of faith are in the lead to help heal the community.