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The Next Chapter of Hope: A Message from Mark

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“Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near…” Isaiah 55:6

On the six hundred block of East Michigan Avenue in Lansing, it is very difficult to miss the 7 foot, seemingly larger than life, “Jesus Saves” cross that illuminates the night or reflects the sun during the day. People will often see the “City Rescue Mission of Lansing” sign adjacent to the cross but more than likely will miss the small but mighty verse from the prophet Isaiah. The Mission leaders of the past had wisely constructed these signs in order to express our purpose and dependency on the Lord. This verse communicates the opportunity, once again, to turn to a loving and patient God to meet our physical and spiritual needs. I do pray that “the wicked will forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts…let him return to the LORD that He may have compassion on him” (Isaiah 55:7). This beckoning call changes hearts and lives as they enter into the shelter and rest of the City Rescue Mission of Lansing.

As I reflect on this message from Isaiah, I can’t help but remember my first experience of immense grief when I was told that a struggling alcoholic named David had passed away one wintry night. Despite many challenges, I know that I had personally seen tremendous change in David’s life over the years, and I know that “the Lord was near.” This was a solidifying moment for me because I knew that we offered him the opportunity to forsake his ways and to be reconciled to God for all of eternity. While many may have only seen the tragedy of his passing, I could be reassured that there was hope that the dark moments for David had finally and fully ended. He had heard the message of hope and experienced the love of Christ through the work of the Mission. We had been faithful to our calling, and God is always faithful to His promises.

Regardless of where our rescue ministry work is located, it will always offer food, shelter, and hope. Our new expansion project on the West Kalamazoo Street will provide the ability to reach more men and women for the call of repentance and rescue. The purpose and meaning of these signs will never change when they are relocated closer to where the need is in our community. Thank you for your trust in us to be good stewards of your time and talents. Thank you for your prayers and for your involvement in the next chapter of hope in Michigan’s capital area. Thank you for being a rescuer!

In Christian Service,
Mark Criss
Executive Director

Mission Expansion Project Information

message from mark

Who will be served by this expansion project: The project, when fully completed, will increase our ability to offer food, shelter, and hope to single adults in our community. As this also opens up space at our current women and children’s shelter, this will eventually create opportunities for moms with children, as well.

What is the cost of the project: This project will take place in two phases, to facilitate cost and need for fundraising. Current estimated costs of this project, in its entire two phases, is 9.6 million dollars.

When will the project be completed: The first phase, constructing the addition and renovating the 415 building, will begin in the summer of 2024. We hope to see it completed by the spring of 2025. At this time, we will decommission the “old lighthouse” on Michigan Avenue and move services from that location to the newly finished building. Then, we will begin focusing on raising funds to complete the second phase, with space for additional men and new space for adult, single women.

Where is the new building located: The project will combine 415 and 421 West Kalamazoo Street in Lansing, just a few blocks from the capitol.

Why is this necessary in our community: In 2019, the Mission provided services to an average of 172 people per night. In 2022, that number had reached 244 people per night, in conjunction with a dramatic increase in homelessness throughout our nation. This is our opportunity to provide a safe haven today and into the future.

How can I help: Please consider giving toward the project. You can visit our website at BEaRESCUER.org/project.html for more information. If you want to support in other ways, such as item donations or volunteering, please contact us at 517-485-0145 or info@BEaRESCUER.org. Most importantly, please pray for wisdom and provision for this next chapter of hope!

Timeline of Rescue

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1911: Thomas and Emily Dolton begin the City Rescue Mission in rented space.

1930: With the arrival of the Great Depression, Thomas and Emily begin a “soup line” at the Mission.

1948: The Mission purchases its first permanent home on the 600 block of Michigan Avenue.

1957: The first overnight dorm opens for men at Michigan Avenue.

1990: The first overnight dorm for women and children is established at Michigan Avenue and later moved to houses on South Cedar Street.

2006: The Mission has a major renovation effort that increases capacity from 34 men to 48. (This number steadily increased to 90 to meet growing needs.)

2010-2011: The women and children’s shelter moves to renovated elementary school and increases capacity to 100 individuals.

2019: The drop-in center opens to offer a safe haven and essential services.

2024: The Mission purchases property to expand capacity to 300 single adults.

Children’s Chapel

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We are so grateful to offer Hope every day in the lives of our guests. Each evening, we provide chapel for all our guests, including children. This allows our moms to be able to have undivided focus in their service. Want to be a part of it? We need volunteers willing to assist in infant care and children’s chapel each evening from 7 PM to 8 PM. Get more information at volunteers@BEaRESCUER.org or 517-485-0145.