My Neighbor - Street Ministry in Durham

Tony is moving back to Durham to continue his ministry. He is partnering with Rev. Karen of St. Joseph's near 9th Street and Rev. Chris Agoranos from Calvary UMC and other churches as well. 
The funds are vital to support him in his ministry. Please reach out to me (Felipe) or Tony or Steven (who worked with Tony in DC over the past 2 years) if you have any questions. 




Here is Tony during a performance "Glimpses of God" in Durham in 2018:
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Here is what Tony has written about his new mission and vision & inspiration:

Mission:
Be a ministerial presence to all our guests seeking assistance through building mutual
relationships and trust with our neighbors living on the streets.

“My Neighbors Ministries” is based on living out three gospel narratives:

(1) Mark 12:30-31 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater then these.

(2) Luke 10:32-37,34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds,
pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took
care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after
him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may
have.’  “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of
robbers?”  The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go
and do likewise.” and

(3) Matthew 25:35-36 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and
you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'

Other resources that inspire the work
“Braving the Streets” Anthropology of Homelessness ( Pattern and Survival On The Streets) by
Irene Glasser)

“Immortal Diamond” by Richard Rohor ( In Search of Truth Self) “about this Dominican, Meister
Echart, who put in one of his sermons:

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one, one seeing, one knowing, and one love.  All humans are doing is allowing God to ‘complete the circuit’ – until we both see from the same perspective.

“Community” Structure of Belonging by Peter Block “Transforming communities fostering a
sense of ownership and accountability’



“My Neighbor Ministries” 2018-2019
Two years ago, I moved to DC to fulfill my call to serve the poor, homeless, and persons living marginal
lives, and in so doing, learn to become a Good Samaritan. Each day I walk down 14th Street to National
City Christian Church on Thomas Circle to serve in the Food Pantry. I support guests who’re seeking
spiritual companionship in prayer or conversation, or to be present and listen. Then, I’m off through
downtown DC to First Trinity to serve in their Food Pantry, Clothing closet, and Café – buying breakfast
for the stranger, paying for bags for the employees, and others who come in to purchase food. Here, I
meet the guests with laughter, telling them, ”I love you, and see you next week!” As neighbors come in
off the streets, I help select pairs of pants, shirts, shoes, and maybe a tie. In turn, I experience a man’s
life being transformed as I try to hold back the tears.
Finally, I begin to reflect on my ministry call as a Mercy Associate with the Sisters of Mercy,
which states we are called to deepen our spirituality and to extend mercy to others. As
Associates, we support one another in prayer, ministry and community, united in our desire to
become more compassionate people by witnessing to God’s mercy in the world.

My Neighbor Ministries 2019 Expanding

Widening the Circle of Mercy in Communities
Who is my friend? When do I become a Good Samaritan when it comes to living out the Gospels in my
everyday walk with the Lord? Who is my neighbor? Is it Comfort, the lady that sleeps outside National
City Christian City, who I greet each morning with a smile? I kneel down to be with her in those moments
when she’s crying after feeling abandoned by her family and left on the streets? Is it the people that live
in expensive apartments wearing clothes that I would never dream of purchasing, walking by Comfort
like she doesn’t exist? Then, there’s Victor who I encountered my second day sitting at a bus stop in the
midst of a snow storm. Temperatures were in the single digits for three days, and no one reached out to
him. Victor had been there for three days, and not a soul from the coffee shop inside where he was
sitting had offered aid or assistance. I immediately went out to check on him, discovering he had frostbite
and couldn’t move his feet and fingers. I assured him that I would get help for him, and returned inside to
get assistance by calling the police and an ambulance for medical aid. Until they arrived, I returned to
Victor asking him permission to sit with him and make sure he would be treated with dignity and respect.
Each day I ponder what does it means to be a servant and follow the Lord in this city where there’s so
much wealth, and yet a lack of humanity in so many ways. I try my best to be a reflection of God through
my actions as I walk throw neighborhoods that have been gentrified in DC. Humbly, I reflect on Who’s
My Neighbor; Who’s My Friend; and to whom am I being a Samaritan? it the poor, homeless, person’s
living marginal lives, or a community of wealthy gentrification? God speaks – and then I remember what
Meister Echart put in one of his Sermons: “The eye through which I see God is the same eye through
which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one, one seeing, one knowing, and one love. All humans
are doing is allowing God to ‘complete the circuit’ – until we both see from the same perspective.”
May we seek to see as God sees until we complete the circuit of God’s love for our neighbors, living as
modern-day Samaritans in a mixed-up, chaotic world.

Widening the Circle of Mercy
My Neighbor Ministries Expanding
As I look back on these last 2 years after asking myself who’s my neighbor, who’s my friend, and
when do a become a Samaritan and living out My Neighbor Ministries. I realized and remembered
what Meister Echart wrote in one of his “The eye through which I see God is the same eye
through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one, one seeing, one knowing, and one
love. All humans are doing is allowing God to ‘complete the circuit’ – until we both see from the
same perspective.
By living out the 3 gospels, reading Irene Glasser) titled : “Braving the Streets” Anthropology of
Homelessness ( Pattern and Survival On The Streets) which helped me to get a better
understanding of the homeless community which I encountered each day. Peter Blocks book:
“Community” The Structure of Belonging opening my eyes and heart up and be presence of the
fabric of a communities. Which is made up of the poor, homeless, marginalized, and the wider
community of urban renewal.
By being in these communities and building relationships. I served in food pantries once a week
where I assisted in making and handing out food bags to over 200 people each week through 2
churches, provided spiritual support to those who were in need and resources information to
persons I encountered in the food pantries, parks, and on the streets. After getting to know the
needs of these different communities I was able to provide blankets, gloves, hats, started a
hygiene bag minister where I gave out over 500 blankets, gloves, hats, and hygiene bags. Being
present in coffee shops in different parts of the city where urban renew is present I was able to
build relationships many of the people in that communities, and talk about my ministry and
community out reach and ways they could be apart of this ministry in the community. Wrote
reflection of my experiences and created 4 works reflection on my experiences the first year
titled: Glimpses of God focusing on the reflections I’d written as a fundraiser for my ministry.

My Neighbor Ministries would not have been possible without your generous support over the
last 2 years.

My Neighbor Ministries help me realize the God calls us to live out our ministers



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Campaign from 2017
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Tony has a particular gift for meeting people. 
Encountering them. Welcoming them. Helping them meet God in themselves and others. 

Tony's new ministry is on the streets of Washington DC. Helping downtown churches and people living on the streeets to see each other more as neighbor. Many are already doing a good bit. Tony's hope is to continue building relationships both with our neighbors experiencing homelessness and also those of us who often just walk by these neighbors of ours as we live our lives. 

Here is a brief video that shares a Story from Tony and how he encounters others and is thinking about the work:



What does Tony need?
He needs our financial help to meet the first several months of living expenses in DC. He found a wonderful community to live with and a room in their house for just $220/month. Then he needs money for metro passes, coffee, and food. Tony lives simply.

Can you help Tony live into this ministry?

=======

Note from Tony
Dear Friend,
I wanted to follow-up with you concerning our conversation of your interest in supporting my ministry. At the present time, a friend, Felipe Witchger has helped me in setting up a web page where you can donate << >> or you can mail any checks to me but send them to his address (Tony Johnson, 111 Steele Ave, Durham, NC 27701).

In particular was wondering if you would be interested in making a donation to assist me during this transition period to help cover my cost of living and travel expenses during the next 3 months until we get things in pace to move forward.

I've attached a copy of the Vision and Mission of the ministry to e-mail.

Thank You In Advance,

Tony

Associate Sister's of Mercy


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Note from Me

I've been very inspired by Tony over the past few months -- and since my work is mostly with churches and nonprofits in Washington DC -- I've been able to take Tony up to DC (from Durham) on a couple trips over the past few months. The trips up and back and then making introductions to different pastors and lay leaders has given me a great sense that Tony is really listening to the Spirit in this call to this street ministry with the homeless. This "My Neighbor" ministry is really a beautiful invitation to us all and in a special way to the people and congregations Tony will work with to encounter our neighbors in the homeless in a new way.

If you're like me, it's often a struggle to know how to respond to folks asking for money on the street. Tony's work invites us to say a hello and meet these neighbors with dignity -- at least that's the effect Tony is having on me.

As I have been talking with and accompanying Tony these past few months, he has told me that You would be willing to support his new ministry and this initial transition period. Thank you for your help.

Tony has raised commitments from friends and congregations in DC to fund a portion of what he needs, but he still needs our help.

Do you think you could make a contribution and support Tony's new ministry?

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“My Neighbor”  Vision & Mission - by Tony Johnson

Vision: As an Associate and part of the Sister’s of Mercy we are called to serve the poor, homeless community and persons living margin lives and build relationships and trust with our neighbors who are homeless on the streets and shelters in our communities.


Mission: Work with churches in the downtown DC Metropolitan area communities and streets focusing on the Gospel of Mark Chapter 12 verse 31 which calls us to Love Our Neighbor as Yourself”. The 7 Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. Lead discussions focusing on Gospel of Mark verse: 31, and workshops focusing on Living out the Gospels through Movement.


Create works reflecting on our experiences serving our neighbors.

Visiting shelters, serving in soup kitchens, assist in the challenges the churches face in serving the homeless community.

Helping to recruit  volunteers to serve in their homeless ministries.

Being an advocate for the homeless community in the neighborhoods as a part of “My Neighbor” Ministries.
Thanks in advance for taking the time to help Tony make this a reality.
  • Chrys Lemon 
    • $200 
    • 14 mos
  • laurie coffman 
    • $22 
    • 14 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 14 mos
  • Chrys Lemon 
    • $200 
    • 14 mos
  • Claire Hermann 
    • $20 
    • 15 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Felipe Witchger 
Organizer
Durham, NC
Tony Johnson 
Beneficiary
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