Grace and peace, My name is Lori (Rev. Lo.) Banfield, MTS and I am glad to announce that I have recently joined the board of Redemption Housing. As a Chaplain of Discipleship working with disenfranchised populations for over three years, I have had the pleasure to witness the holistic transformation that can occur in someone’s life when he or she feels secure in a community whose mission embraces and cultivates spiritual wellness as a catalyst for whole person redemption. This safe haven operated by a community of diverse believers is what I perceive makes our Lord Jesus smile; this was “the joy set before him” as described in Hebrews 12:2.
When I consider our work at Redemption Housing I am drawn to the story of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, all good friends of Jesus as expressed in John 11. As many are familiar, Lazarus is ill and eventually dies, and by the time Jesus answers Mary and Martha’s request to come and help, Lazarus has already been in the grave for four days. Lazarus is isolated, secluded, condemned, grieved over, and covered up; hope for him has been lost.
What I love about Christ in this text is not just that he raises Lazarus from his grave, but in that process Jesus provides a great lesson and mission to Lazarus’ community. Before Christ could bring Lazarus to life, Christ commanded the people to “roll away the stone,” or to remove the thing that excluded Lazarus from life and placed a boundary and limit on his potential. Then, after Christ grants Lazarus life, Christ commands the people to “loose him!” Loose him from his bondage, loose him from the very things that associated him with death and the grave. You see, Christ indeed came to give life and life more abundantly (John 10:10), but we must never forget that the “abundantly” is so that we might have the same vision as our Savior to first see hope and life in dark, dead, stinky, uncomfortable places, and then have the strength and courage to go into to these dead places and actively participate with God in this process of healing and redemption. When this happens, that one who was once dead can be reconciled to his community and empowered to activate that same great mission as his or her testimony, that testimony becomes the testimony of the entire community.
This is what guides my service and this is what drew me to Redemption Housing. It is my pleasure to serve on the board of Redemption Housing where the call for the community’s active participation in the graciously overwhelming transformative will of God is the driving principle. I look forward to the multitude that will take advantage of the opportunity to share this Gospel testimony.
The process of redemption happens in community and we would love for you to be a part! The volunteer page offers multiple ways for you to partner with Redemption Housing. It’s the most wonderful time of year because we have the gift to give. Thank you in advance and may the Lord ever favor you the more to walk with his people.
Lori is a graduate of Saint Joseph’s University (B.S., Psychology, 2011), Palmer Theological Seminary (M.T.S. in Christian Counseling, 2014), and is currently completing a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy at Eastern University. Lori operates as a Professor of Psychology and Christian Ministries at Esperanza College while serving as a community Chaplain of Discipleship and an Associate Minister at Gates of Heaven Pentecostal Church in West Philadelphia. She is also the author of the spiritual formation book Walking Worthy of My Calling: Journey Back to the Likeness of God. Lori resides in West Philly with her husband and young son.