Acts 29 Fellowship Embodies New Society in Hamtramck
Acts 29 Fellowship
Primary Contact Person: Pastor John Myers
Phone: 313-365-ACTS (2287)
Brad Setser, AXIS Director - 313-350-1519
Sharon Buttry, R.E.A.C.H. Director - 586-943-7259
12101 Joseph Campau
Hamtramck MI 48212
The Catholic Workers movement, with the leadership of Dorothy Day, described itself as "creating a new society in the shell of the old." Today there is another movement (very small by most standards) in the city of Hamtramck that is working with such prophetic vitality today, if one only has the eyes to see.
At first I could not find Acts 29 Fellowship. I approached two men sitting on a porch to ask them but they obviously spoke no English and did not respond. I then asked two gas station clerks if they knew of Acts 29 and they pointed next door. Then I saw the colorful drawings in the window and entered through the front door. I did not expect to meet staff immediately since I was later than expected, so I sat and talked to a middle-aged man who told me that he knew of this building when it was still an old car dealership. He also told me he was struggling with cocaine addiction. He said he liked the folks at Acts 29 well enough but he was still learning to like himself.
When I finally talked with a woman working at a desk I asked if I could sit in on the class being taught that morning. I met the instructors — a ruddy and friendly white man named Peter and a brightly clothed Congolese man named Moses. Both looked like they were in their late twenties. I sat behind a dozen Bangladeshi men learning english through Peter and Moses.
Behind me was the roar of asphalt machines repairing roads for an upcoming festival. Smoke rose in the air from a neighboring block as an absandoned lot caught fire — a chaotic scene. On the wall above the Bangladeshi men was a painted landscape mural of the city of Detroit. The mural had the words 'Century Chevrolet" with the Chevrolet symbol, resembling a cross, painted high in the sky above the city buildings. to the left I noticed another landscape image of the city, with a Christian cross in the sky above it, and this banner read "Acts 29 Fellowship."
Hospitality was extended to me after class as one of the directors gave me a tour of the facility, allowed me to prepare myself lunch with another volunteer group and drive me around Hamtramck to pick up some local kids preparing a music presentation. Inquiring about service opportunities, I found myself the one being served.
Acts 29 Fellowship worships together Sunday mornings, prays together every morning, works in the community and trains people for job readiness. The pastor, John Meyers, is an experienced carpenter and has helped reconstruct the interior of the old dealership building, which is still in the process of renovation.
An inclusive outreach, associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, this ministry is low on pretension and high on compassion. It is a messy place — a simple place — that testifies of the Kingdom of God.
Target Group(s) of Ministry: Youth, Community
Current Needs: Tutors and mentors throughout the school year, one to four nights a week, Monday-Thursday 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. People with skills in home repair and interest in vocational training.
Most Helpful Attitude from Volunteer: Flexibility. One day might not go as planned but you must be able to adapt.
Future: Three branches of ministry:
- R.E.A.C.H. Youth Program (youth group on Wednesday nights; tutoring)
- AXIS (neighborhood redevelopment and restoration)
- Sunday morning services and Bible studies
Addition of computer lab in Fall 2007. ESL classes taught every day. Open facility for other local groups to use (e.g., Bosnian dancing group meeting two nights a week).
Events: For young people in the summer — camping trips, Backyard Bible Club, woodworking shop — Call 586-943-7259 to register. Bible studies and prayer groups on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Prayer: Spiritual protection in an oppressive environment. The vitality and love needed for flexibility in meeting needs.