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Most people don’t know this story, but the Village of Hope almost didn’t exist because we couldn’t build a chapel on the site.
The chapel is one of the most prominent structures on our campus and the most instrumental in bringing our student residents life change through the love of Jesus — and we were denied the right to build it. For a while.
That battle opened my eyes to the reality of the secular world that we work and exist within. Where we are fighting off the darkness with light, we are not simply granted passage without resistance. Where God can surely move mountains, it also requires us to claim His will by fighting for justice and what is right. This is where I am entirely grateful for the partnership of my good friend Stanley Carlson-Thies, President of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance. This organization is a movement that encourages ministries and parachurch organizations to fight for their freedoms.
The Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance safeguards the religious identity and faith-shaped standards and services of faith-based organizations, enabling them to make their distinctive and best contributions to the common good.
IRFA works to advance public policies and public attitudes that respect the character and service of faith-based organizations. It supports and honors the spectrum of organizations that comprise the religious pluralism of our society.
With the help of IRFA, we have been able to maintain the freedom of who we hire, as each OCRM employee is required to sign a statement of faith. This is crucial as our staff fights darkness on a daily basis, requiring strong faith and belief in God to love from the deepest parts of our heart that God has already touched.
Fighting for our religious freedom is absolutely essential to how we will be carrying out God’s work in the future. The friendship of Stanley and our partnership with IRFA is entirely invaluable to me and the efforts of the Orange County Rescue Mission.
I encourage you to come along side the vision of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance to partner with and support their efforts. Visit their website HERE for more information.