A Mission of Grace

by Kathleen Mozeika

Hello GCC family…I hope this finds you all feeling God’s tremendous love for you – these are hard times we are in – and it is good for us to remind each other of His everlasting love.  Speaking of reminding others about God’s love, this blog entry is to introduce you to a ministry that Grace supports that is proficient at doing just that…the Jersey Shore Rescue Mission (JSRM).

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a little of the backstory… JSRM was founded by their sister mission, which is called the Market Street Mission.  The Market Street Mission was the brainstorm of Mrs. Louisa Graves Owen, who was married to the Reverend Dr. F.W. Owen.  She was holding a women’s Bible study in their home and realized that many of the women’s husbands were alcoholics.  Seeing a great need, the couple rented a building to set up a residential program. 

In 1889, the Market Street Mission opened its doors on Market Street in Morristown to bring hope to their community.  Meals, lodging, clothing and temporary employment were some of the blessings offered – along with Christ-centered spiritual guidance.   You can read more on their website www.marketstreet.org, but in short, God truly blessed this ministry so much that another mission opened its doors in Asbury Park… and there at 701 Memorial Drive rests our local beloved Jersey Shore Rescue Mission. 

The Jersey Shore Rescue Mission is a true beacon of God’s love and grace, and it has given His light to the local community since they first opened in 2006.  From the very beginning their goal was to help Asbury Park’s homeless, hurting, and addicted by meeting basic needs like food and shelter – while combining it with the good news of Jesus Christ.  

What does JSRM give to the community?  God’s love and compassion are given out in many ways.  A free dinner is available to everyone (general public included) – 365 days of the year.  Over 27,000 meals are served annually!  For those interested, donations of under three dollars can provide a whole meal…so you can rest knowing any donations you give are used well and with integrity. 

Emergency shelter is available for overnight stays (capacity for up to 37 men per night) and guests may stay overnight for up to ten days.  Men usually come to the mission from the street, detox centers, or the hospital.  Those staying are given various amenities, including but not limited to showers, clothing and case management. 

Long term help is available through the Mission’s Life Change Recovery Program, which is done in various stages in conjunction with the Market Street Mission.  It begins however, at the Jersey Shore Rescue Mission in the JSRM Pre-Program phase.  This first part of the program, which helps up to sixty men per year, is two months long and done at the JSRM location.  This phase determines if the men who have become residents of JSRM can benefit from the rest of the program – which is done in Morristown.  Men are provided with all of their needs – a dorm bed, food, counseling, medical evaluation at a local clinic, and more.  Men in the pre-Program also are given a work-therapy assignment inside the mission, as well as other JSRM responsibilities.  Always keeping God central, spiritual growth is a core component – and JSRM gives these men morning devotions, daily chapel services, church and in-house AA/NA meetings, and more.  The mission says that the overall theme of the Life Change Program can be found in ll Corinthians 5:17…” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” This promise has been proven over and over through the work of JSRM, and God is glorified.  This program also includes but is not limited to a Relapse Prevention Program and a Mission Internship Program.  As the residents become restored through the process of recovery, they learn about the hope of Jesus, and they become healthy and productive which enables them to re-enter the society where they had previously struggled. In the past, GCC has had interns from the recovery program come and give their testimonies during our service…we look forward to more of that in the future.

The Jersey Shore Rescue Mission Thrift Store, located at the same location, is a place where a myriad of items (clothing, house goods, furniture, jewelry, art, and much more) are donated and then sold at a very low price to the community.  All proceeds go directly to the mission’s cause.  Volunteers are often welcomed here to help in various ways and we at GCC have been blessed by participating in that. Even in the volunteering, God’s love can be felt, as everyone works together for the greater good of spreading His hope.  We hope to resume our volunteering there as soon as possible.  (Please note that there are current restrictions on volunteering at JSRM because of Covid-19…their website continually updates this information.)

JSRM hosts many exciting events during the year, two of which are currently happening or about to begin soon.  One is their 5K Race and Family Walk happening this October 24th – where everyone can enjoy the ocean view as they cheer runners racing on the Asbury Park boardwalk.  This year, there are virtual options also…a virtual 5K beginning 10/24 and a virtual mission to mission 100K/100M race which is underway until the end of October. 

The November event is the JSRM Coat Giveaway, which will take place at the mission on Saturday, November 21st from 10-1 PM.  This is an amazing event where JSRM men get to volunteer for the community – and all donated coats and winter accessories for adults and children are given to the public for free.  For more information or to register for these, please look under events on their website www.jerseyshorerescue.org.

Currently, Grace Christian Church is in the middle of our yearly coat drive, which will benefit the JSRM Coat Giveaway.  We are seeking CHILDREN’S winter coats and winter accessories (child and adult).  You will find the donation box at the side door of GCC, located along the driveway.  I personally would like to thank you, Grace family, for all of your generous hearts… I have already picked up a whole boxful of donations!  If you need donations picked up please let me know, and I will make arrangements.

If you have interest, you can help make the bond between Grace Christian Church and the Jersey Shore Rescue Mission stronger by giving.  Giving what?  Just your heart…and then let God direct you in the way that is best for you.  Maybe it would be coats for the box, maybe it would be a donation of funds, maybe it would be items you give to the thrift store.  Maybe it will be volunteer work…or maybe it would be prayers lifting up JSRM to God. 

The JSRM helps bring dignity, reconciliation, and healing in the lives of those accepting help – while giving God all the glory.   If you decide to help the JSRM in any way, I thank you – for together we can all live out loving the marginalized…just like Jesus says to do. 

In more ways than one – it is a Mission of Grace.