The Poor and the Homeless

As New Venture grows in her awareness of needs in our community and city my hope and prayer is that more and more of us will be willing to unselfishly and sacrificially respond to those needs. Let me introduce you to one such opportunity and program that specifically targets the poor and homeless of our city. It is called the Unity-Works Project. Is this something you have a heart for? Is it something you might explore or even become a point person for in the NV church family?

If you have any interest email Chris Harmon,, or me and we can discuss it further. An informational workshop is offered on August 27 for any who might be interested. click here for more details.

I know this is a big undertaking but it could be the most significant journey you ever signed up for.

The Unity-Works Project is being funded in part by Valparaiso University through the Practicing our Faith grants program ( The project has three goals:

1) Sharing the stories of hospitality that resulted in the birth of Embrace Richmond

2) Expanding the practice of hospitality toward the poor in our community by building collaboratives between the faith community and the non-profit sector

3) Equipping future leaders for urban ministry through education and experiential learning opportunities
These three objectives will be met through two activities;

1) The writing of a book by Embrace founder Wendy McCaig which Chronicles how the practice of hospitality has shaped Embrace Richmond and those we serve. For more information about this aspect of the project see the “Resources” page.

2) A five month urban missions training program that will allow participants to experience hospitality from both sides of the table, as both giver and recipient. The goal of these workshops is help congregations discern how they can expand the practice of hospitality toward the poor in their own congregational setting.
This website was created to promote the project and as a resource to congregations and leaders who are interested in participating in the 5 month Unity-Works training program. Below you will find an overview of the project.


Over the past three years, Embrace Richmond has partnered with dozens of congregations through our Welcome Home Project and Youth and Family Missions Day events. Congregations have repeatedly requested opportunities to go deeper by engaging in relational urban missions that are transformational to both the church and the community. In response to that request and to the growing community need for relational ministry, Embrace Richmond developed the Unity-Works project.


Unity-Works is an experiential learning project offering congregational teams opportunities to learn about the issues facing impoverished individuals in Richmond and helping congregations discern how they can minister to those in need through partnerships with other faith-based organizations. The Unity-Works project is being funded in part by Valparaiso Universities “Practicing our Faith” program.


Phase 1 – Unity Building Workshops: Through these six workshops congregations will learn about the challenges faced by Richmond’s homeless and at-risk individuals. Through these workshops participants will be taught by individuals who have personally experienced homelessness (adventure guides) and by faith-based urban leaders who are working to alleviate some of the challenges. Throughout the process congregations will examine how their own congregation is responding to the needs and will develop a greater appreciation for the assets of their local congregation.

Phase 2 – Homeless Immersion Weekend: Through this weekend experience participants will experience first hand the journey from the streets, to living in the shelter, to obtaining and sustaining independence.

Phase 3 – Strategic Planning Workshops: Through these three final workshops congregations will develop their own “Vision for Mission” that takes into consideration ministries already in operation in their congregation along with new opportunities to engage in urban ministry through partnership with other organizations.

Phase 4 – Sharing the Vision: Teams will present their plan using story and other media to their fellow participants and ultimately to their congregation. These “Visions for Mission” will be posted on the Unity-Works website to help guide future program participants.

Phase 5 – Living the Vision: The teams will be commissioned to bring their visions alive in their local congregations. Embrace Richmond will track the implementation of the projects along with the outcomes and will update the unity-works website on a quarterly basis.


One thought on “The Poor and the Homeless

  1. That workshop is actually an “Informational Luncheon” – and is next Wednesday lunchtime (11:30 – 1pm) at 1501 Sledd Street, Richmond 23220, near Belvidere and Chamberlayne (take Belvidere exit off I-95/I-64).

    So if you can’t make that workshop/luncheon, but are still interested, don’t drop this… I have no doubt you can still join in on this!

    In a reminder email they sent me, I really thought part of the info they sent (which is below) really hit upon the purpose really well:

    CHRISTIAN HOSPITALITY: What is it and how can we do more?

    Our Unity Works Project will provide unique, experiential opportunities for congregational groups to break down barriers through the practice of Christian hospitality.

    We will help you develop leaders with a passion for urban ministry and a commitment to caring for the poor. Through an Immersion Experience and a series of workshops, your project teams will seek to discern how they can build bridges of hospitality in order to care for those in need through the local church.

    Anyway, there have been several trips out to Monroe Park and if you’d like to see some posts with a few pictures , see do you live down by the river? or I will not forsake them

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