This column is named “Community of Faith.” A remarkable thing, in fact a miracle, is happening in the Missoula community of faith. Faith communities of every kind have come together in ministry. Young churches and long-established churches, evangelical churches and mainstream churches, Unitarian, Jewish and Christian faith communities,
working as one.
What is this miracle around which the Missoula faith communities are joined? It is called Family Promise of Missoula. As I looked around the room when church groups and individuals gathered for the Family Promise Volunteer Appreciation picnic on September 11, I saw and felt the miracle.
Family Promise is a national organization of which Family Promise of Missoula is a part. Our mission is to serve homeless families in Missoula, providing shelter, meals and services to help families break the cycle of homelessness and to secure schooling, social services, jobs and homes of their own.
Our mission is caring for homeless children and their parents or guardians. Our capacity is 14 people. Each family can stay in the program for up to 90 days. Host churches provide overnight lodging in their buildings in a one-week rotation. With the help of support congregations, dinner and breakfast are served at the churches and food is provided for lunches. A van owned by Family Promise of Missoula delivers families to their host church and picks them up after breakfast (and provides transportation during the day, if needed.) A day center provides a base for the families during the day. Our director and staff work with the parents to help them move ahead with their lives.
Children flourish when they have a safe place to live and nutritious meals. Families grow closer since the parents do not have to worry about shelter and food and can spend time bonding with their children.
Some families do drop out of the program. But through the ministry of Family Promise many are on their way to the life that we all want- their own safe place to live and the ability to support their families through meaningful work.
Family Promise of Missoula is the cause around which the miracle is happening. Missoula faith communities have chosen to rise above their differences in tradition, worship styles and theological stance to join together to make our community a better place to live, for everyone.
Rev. Christine Prescott, retired chaplain and member of the Family Promise of Missoula board of directors can be reached at email@example.com.