Highlights of our 20th Anniversary Celebration Banquet

On September 15, 2009, we threw a party with 400 of our closest friends. It was our anniversary banquet, celebrating 20 years of ministry, 20 years of fixing up homes on Hummel Street, 20 years of helping homeless women and children build a future with hope.

Tony inspires us: “It’s a joy that has to be shared. That’s what were asking you to do…to bring some joy into people’s lives”

It was fitting that Dr. Tony Campolo was our guest speaker, because for years he’s challenged the church to be a church that parties—to be passionate and joyful in all we do. The Kingdom of God is a Party, declares the title of one of Tony’s books.

Our theme was “Celebrating 20 Years of Building Hope” and Tony reminded us that hope is critical to helping women like Liz move forward:

That’s what we’ve got to bring into the lives of people who haven’t had much to celebrate. That’s what this program is about, it’s not just about housing, it’s about bringing the joy of Jesus into the lives of people who have been beaten down and had the joy of life sucked out of them. It’s the joy that comes from new beginnings.

Former BHA Participant Joelle touches the crowd at our 20th anniversary banquet with a song she recently wrote

So we celebrated. Joelle touched our hearts through song, sharing that she came to BHA angry and bitter, and left with a song in her heart and a new church family. Judith traveled from Philadelphia where she works as a case manager with the elderly to share all God continues to do in her life 10 years after graduating from the BHA program. And Liz, with her trademark smile and humor, shared about working two jobs, paying off her debt, enrolling in trucking school and earned her Class A Commercial Driver’s License.

Talk about reasons to party!

The day after the banquet, Liz called me. She wanted to share how inspired she was, and how much the banquet meant to her:

At last year’s banquet I was new at BHA and didn’t really get what it was all about. But now I see how much it takes to make BHA run…and how important all of the people are who give and volunteer. Now that I’m graduating, I want to give back. I want to take that joy Tony talked about and share it with others who are struggling.

Her voice was filled with excitement and joy. I believe Liz has a bright future because Tony had just reminded us the night before:

It’s a joy that you can’t keep unless you give it way. The more you share the joy the more joyful you are. [In my own ministries] we find that of the people who have been nurtured in the program and helped in the program, the ones that do the best are the ones that come back and help. They say, “you know, we were blessed here…we’ve come back to do for others what was done for us. It’s a joy that’s shared.”

The more you share the more joyful you are.

We were incredibly blessed by the sharing at the Banquet. Tony inspired us and made us laugh, Liz, Judith and Joelle shared from their hearts, and people generously shared their financial resources. By far BHA’s most successful event ever, we received more than $50,000 in program support.

This giving came at a vital time for BHA. The calls we receive for housing and support have doubled in the last year. We turned away almost 400 women and children over the past twelve months solely due to the fact that we did not have capacity to serve them. This is double the previous year.

The work of BHA is more needed than ever. Thank you for being part of the caring extended family of BHA who extends a loving home and support to homeless women and children in these tough economic times.

Liz shares her journey from homelessness to hope as Judith (left) and Jennifer Rash, BHA’s Program Coordinator, look on.

 

More Banquet Highlights: Facebook Photo Gallery (don’t need to be a Facebook member to view)

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