Community at the Commons

Written by Christopher Stollar, Veritas member and Community Group leader in Clintonville.

When James heard a group of Veritas members talking about the parable of the prodigal son at his shelter last month, he decided to join them.

“I don’t believe in coincidences,” James said. “I was just asking God to take me back to the family. And just when I came in here you were reading about the prodigal son. Thank you, Jesus. God is saying to me, ‘I’ll take you back.’”

James is one of several residents who attended the first meeting of Veritas’ new community group at the Commons at Third, a transitional shelter in Grandview run by National Church Residences. About 60 of the 100 apartments are reserved for people who have a disability or are recovering from drug addiction and chronic homelessness. The Commons provides access to counseling, health care and job training. For more than a year, a group of Veritas members have been serving at the Commons by sharing meals with the residents and praying for one another. But the residents themselves wanted something more, so Veritas launched a group there in March after months of planning.

“We had always desired to share the Gospel with the residents in addition to helping meet a physical need,” said Luke Brooks, group leader at the Commons. “After getting to know several people, we realized that even if they wanted to have a Christian community, they would not be able to access it in their current situation. We are excited to live in community with the residents and encourage each other.”

This month, Veritas plans to work with the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s disability service to transport residents who are in wheelchairs to church. But in the meantime, some people like Kelley have already received rides by Veritas members.

“They made me feel welcome,” Kelley said. “I felt like I was at home.”

At the end of the group’s first meeting last month, a resident named Ellis asked if everybody could hold hands and pray for one another. Some asked for relief from pain. Others prayed for help with addiction. But everyone praised God for their new group at the Commons.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Ellis said. “When I’m alone I’m a target. That’s why I’m here. I need y’all. Just think, one day we’re all gonna be sittin’ ’round a table like this in Heaven and I’m gonna say, ‘Hey, I knew you from that place on Third.'”

To learn more about or join this community group at the Commons, contact Luke Brooks.