Photo: Rev. David Beidel
Editor’s note: In this commentary, Rev. David Beidel, founder of Saturate NYC, writes about a recent initiative that brought together community leaders and infused hopie and compassionate aid in local communities impacted by COVID-19 and racial unrest.
By David Beidel
When New York City became the deadly epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, we realized that the under-resourced communities we serve desperately needed help. Food, hygiene supplies, and basic life necessities were not available. Panic, sorrow, and despair gripped our locked-down city.
While all hell tried to divide the body of Christ and the people of our city, we knew it was critical that we drew nearer to the Lord and each other.
Deadly bullets of disease, fear, racism, and rage were flying through our most fragile neighborhoods. In the midst of the chaos, we felt the Lord calling us to build protective sanctuaries over our terrified neighborhoods. We found the image of the bulletproof fabric, “Kevlar,” to be inspiring. Kevlar is the thread that stops bullets, but it can only do so when it is woven together tightly and layered repeatedly.
The strategic focus of Saturate NYC’s outreach (www.Saturate.NYC) has always included weaving together a contextualized version of Acts 1:8 in our Jerusalem (neighborhoods). Judea (schools), Samaria (housing projects), and the Ends of the Earth (ethnic groups). When we stepped into full relief response, we realized that the team that God had drawn together while ministering to these different sectors of our community—particularly the public schools and public housing leaders—were the key to rescuing and restoring our devastated neighborhoods.
It was clear that the Lord had already begun weaving together the most important relationships in our city as a fruit of our outreach strategy. We built a Kevlar Dream Team of loving pastors and churches, school principals, key leaders in public housing, neighborhood stakeholders, community police, and non-profit partners. Within a few days, we were able to launch a massive collaborative relief plan. When the racial tensions rose to frightening levels in the communities we serve, the same team quickly responded and redoubled our efforts to minister peace.
Hundreds of community servants and dozens of churches came together to serve and bless thousands. We watched in awe as God brought together this holy team, provided over five million dollars in food, hygiene, clothing, family necessities, gospel materials and relief resources. Agape Meals (Breaking Bread to Break Down Walls) in NYCHA communities and neighborhood mobilization breakfasts were launched. Prayer, worship, and the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus filled our vulnerable communities with a sweet fragrance.
During the harshest storms our generation has faced, a holy, bulletproof sanctuary, a house of hope in a world of pain was built in the middle of our most distressed communities.
“I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not stand against it” – Matthew 16:18
In this short video, Pastor David Beidel talks about the power of fusion and the power of unity within the Body of Christ: