CORNERSTONE'S THANKSGIVING NEWSLETTER 2012
A Communiqué of
CORNERSTONE BAPTIST CHURCH
& Cornerstone Community Development Corp., Inc.
1819 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. * Dallas, TX 75215
Post Office Box 152551, Dallas, TX 75315
Phone (214) 426-5468 / Fax (214) 426-0512
www.cornerstonedallas.org / firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness,
and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
It is with a most grateful heart that we would like to express our most sincere thanks and appreciation to you and your family during this Thanksgiving season. Your support, encouragement and prayers are truly making a difference in the South Dallas community. Over the years, we continue to thank God for each and everyone one of you who have been so supportive of the efforts of Cornerstone to serve those in the South Dallas/Fair Park community. Many have been so gracious not only with their financial support but also by sacrificing their time to help us serve others. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!!!
We could not do what we do at Cornerstone for the community without the generous support of many individuals, churches, organizations, foundations, and corporations. In a time where we receive so many requests for assistance, we thank you so much for helping us make it possible for us to help others. As a result, many who were once on the receiving end are now on the giving end which is truly an encouragement. The transformation in their lives is truly the reason we remain committed to reaching out and "letting our light shine" in a community that is often seen as one of difficulty and despair. You are helping us to bring HOPE! Thanks!
Again, as we celebrate this Thanksgiving season, we thank you so much for all that you have done, are doing, and will do to partner with us! Your commitment to "walk with us" is truly appreciated. We hope that this newsletter will share with you ways in which this partnership is touching lives in tangible ways and also encourage you to continue to walk with us as we serve our neighbors.
By the way, if you have not had a chance to visit the Cornerstone campus recently, the staff of First Baptist Church of Richardson recently produced a video for their congregation. We hope that you will click on this link to view and join with us in thanking God for the many ways in which he continues to provide and enable us to touch the lives of others.
Thanks so much,
Chris L. Simmons, Pastor
Cornerstone Baptist Church
CORNERSTONE "NEW KITCHEN" UPDATE
Just over five years ago, Cornerstone purchased a former liquor store and converted it into a "Kitchen" that was serving less than 75 people on Tuesdays and Thursdays for lunch. Over the years, because of the challenging economy and the increasing number of homeless people in the downtown and surrounding areas, the ministry is now serving nine times a week resulting in nearly 6,000 meals each month and the numbers continue to grow. Volunteers have been simply wonderful, willing to stay long hours, serve back to back until everyone is fed, and work in very tight conditions. Those who may have served in this facility know of the challenging conditions of trying to serve so many in such a limited space. Great news! A new facility is in the works. The metal building has been ordered and will arrive in approximately 6 to 8 weeks, the soil samples have been sent off in order that the architect will be able to design the foundation. Our goal and prayer is that by Easter 2013, the new facility will be completed and ready for occupancy.
We are so encouraged because the contract to build the new facility has been granted to Llano River Fence Company (www. llanoriverfence.com). The company started erecting fences and shortly thereafter added a landscape and custodial division. Recently, they have successfully erected a number of metal buildings in the East Texas area. Richard "Chico" Smith, one of our men who completed the Philemon's House Program (transitional housing for ex-offenders) is the owner! What a blessing for us to have one who came through the ministry giving back to help others.
C-KIDS HOMEWORK CENTER/REACH 4 HOPE
A number of children in the community were failing school for no other reason than there was no one home to assist with homework. John and Suzanne Trahan along with Heather Rich, joined forces with Cornerstone to help start an afterschool program designed to meet the need. CKids Homework Center is a safe, friendly haven for inner city children and youth after school. Caring adults provide a hearty meal, school supplies, basic necessities, love and equip the children with tools and life principles to lead successful blessed lives.
Suzanne recently reported:
What an amazing year it has been so far! Sixty-five neighborhood children are REGULARLY attending Homework Center after school for a snack, homework help, and a hot dinner. They trust it's a safe place where emotional and practical needs will be met by caring adults. Grades are improving greatly and confidence in school is on the rise! Thirty children earned their way to a Fall weekend retreat at Sky Ranch in Van, TX. Fifteen volunteers spent quality time listening, teaching and having fun! They rode horses, played laser tag, zip lined and enjoyed evening camp fires.
Thank you to all the Volunteers/Mentors who sacrificed their time to invest in the lives of these precious kids. Our focus for November is "Thankful" and we are finding ways to show God and others that we are thankful!
"Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear __________, happy birthday to you." Is often a familiar song sung throughout many homes. However, in some situations, children seldom have a birthday party to celebrate who they are. Our partnership with Birthday Blessing has been a huge blessing for many of the children in the community. Each month, volunteers work with our children's leadership team to identify children in the neighborhood who might be celebrating a birthday. The children are encouraged to share this event with family and friends. We remain thankful for the community's support in providing a meal, clothing, books, gifts, entertainment and LOTS OF FUN for so many deserving children.
FEED THE CHILDREN
Feed the Children's Truck Sponsorship Program partners with organizations to supply food and essentials to children and families in need in the community. On Saturday, November 10th, the organization partnered with Weaver LLP, Inc., an accounting firm in Texas (www.weaverllp.com) to provide 400 boxes of food and other essentials to families in need. Volunteers from Cornerstone Crossroads Academy, The Men of Nehemiah, Trinity/Philemon House, employees from Weaver LLP Inc. and several congregations helped to unload the delivery truck and assist in taking boxes to the recipient cars.
CORNERSTONE CROSSROADS ACADEMY
The Cornerstone Crossroads Academy continues to work with students in the community to give them an opportunity to graduate from high school. This year, CCA is working on the Quarter System, allowing students who need flexible scheduling to be able to enroll and withdraw at pre-determined times throughout the year. During the 1st Quarter, 22 students were served. While 80% of the students had been truant or had dropped out of school prior to enrolling at CCA, their average 1st Quarter attendance at CCA was 97%! Seventeen of the 22 students earned full credits for the quarter.
In addition to academics, students engaged in Bible classes, chapel, scripture memory, field trips, and community service.
The school began the 2nd Quarter on October 15. While it was difficult seeing six of our students withdraw, seats were filled with six new students. We are very thankful for the diverse blend of students God has brought to CCA. As for our demographics, 70% of our class is male, and we have an equal split between Hispanic and African American students.
There is a very special atmosphere of kindness, openness, and fun among the students and staff. Thanks so much to the number of volunteers who give of their time to assist these young people in achieving their goals.
"BREAKING FREE" FALL WOMEN'S RETREAT
In September, several of the women at Cornerstone completed a year's study through Beth Moore's Breaking Free. In celebration of this accomplishment about 100 women spent a weekend fellowship program with each other committing themselves to remain free from the obstacles that often hinder their progress and growth in their spiritual lives.
Trinity Restoration and Martha's House
Two ministries that continue to encourage us at Cornerstone are the Philemon/Trinity House and Martha's House which ministers respectively to men and women who are transitioning from prison back into the community. Richard Robertson, who now serves as the program manager of the Philemon/Trinity House, recently shared with excitement that he had successfully completed a twelve year sentence which he had received at the age of 17 years - no more prison or parole. The following Sunday, as he shared his testimony, he closed with the song by Israel Houghton, "Moving Forward." The words have become his ambition. Here is an excerpt from the song: "What a moment You have brought me to. Such a freedom I have found in You. You're the healer who makes all things new. I'm not going back, I'm moving ahead. I'm here to declare to you my past is over. You have risen with all power in Your hand. You have given me a second chance. Hallelujah, hallelujah!" Today not only is Richard able to celebration being FREE after 17years but now goes back into the prisons to the same unit where he served the majority of his time to minister to other men seeking FREEDOM!
In Richard's recent report he states, "This quarter we were able to start teaching God's Word to over a hundred people every week at Dawson State Jail on the 4th floor. We also have housed a little over 30 men this year and all 7 of our last graduates from August are still with us staying connected and free!" Thanks to the generous donations of contributors, we were able to open up phase II of Trinity Apartments this month with the capacity to assist 11 additional men transitioning back into the community.
Our Martha's House ministry continues to exceed expectations! Many women have transitioned back into the community, successfully completed Christian Women's Job Corps and are gainfully employed. An example can be found in Margie Stevenson who is an inspiration to many. She recently celebrated during one of the morning worship services at Cornerstone during her graduation. Shortly thereafter she received notification about a job opportunity; however, the posting had expired the previous day. She called and explained about her connection to the church. They allowed her to interview in a temporary position. Over the last several weeks in that position, she was offered a fulltime job with benefits.
CORNERSTONE'S THANKSGIVING DAY
"COATS & BLANKETS OF LOVE"
Thursday, November 22nd – 10:00 AM until 12:00 Noon
We are collecting new and gently used coats and blankets of all sizes to share with those who attend the Thanksgiving Day meal. Any additional coats, blankets and other warm items will be distributed throughout the winter through the Cornerstone Clothing Closet.
If you desire to make a tax deductible contribution to Cornerstone's Outreach, you may send you donation to:
CORNERSTONE BAPTIST CHURCH
POST OFFICE BOX 152551
DALLAS, TEXAS 75315-2551
You also visit us by logging on to www.cornerstonedallas.org