Church Seeks to Help Revitalize Detroit

by | Jul 31, 2005 | Charisma Archive

Church of God in Christ Bishop P.A. Brooks says ministries have a duty to build in their communities
In a cluster of barren fields on Detroit’s east side, Bishop P.A. Brooks sees the future, for his church and people in need far beyond its doors. Soon the fields will be home to COGIC Villages, a housing and retail development of the New St. Paul Tabernacle (NSPT) Church of God in Christ.

The development is one of several projects that Brooks, New St. Paul pastor and president of the church’s nonprofit housing corporation, is orchestrating to help revitalize Detroit, a city plagued with urban blight. Churches, Brooks says, have a duty to build in their communities.

“We looked at our community and saw houses boarded up and deterioration of the community,” said Brooks, 73, who founded the 2,100-member church 52 years ago with his wife and mother-in-law. “We can’t let the community go down. We have to bring life, not just spiritual life, but practical life for other people. If we don’t help people we aren’t serving in the ministry of Jesus Christ.”

In recent months the media have been splattered with news reports about
Detroit’s $300 million budget deficit and massive layoff s. Though the city has attracted Major League Baseball’s 2005 All-Star Game, the 2006 Super Bowl and splashy new downtown developments, a recent Time magazine article ranked Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick among the worst in the country because of his management of city funds and personnel.

But while some doubt his city’s economic viability, Brooks sees opportunity. “People say Detroit is bad, but the glass is not half empty, it’s half full,” he said. Developing abandoned areas is“ how new life is given to these urban centers.”

Brooks says the New St. Paul Tabernacle Non-Profit Housing Corporation
developed a limited license corporation with Metro Educational Concepts Inc.
(MECI) to erect homes and business areas throughout the city. Their first project,
COGIC Villages, is a three-phase development all on Detroit’s east side.

Michael Bartley, executive director of MECI, a nonprofit community development
corporation, explained the project: Gratiot 24 is the first area that will have 24 two- and three-bedroom townhouses and at least 50 studio, and one- and two bedroom
garden apartments for those with low incomes, including seniors.

The second phase, Cathedral Place, targets COGIC’s Northeast Michigan Cathedral, which is the jurisdictional headquarters, and the surrounding area. Initial plans include a Cathedral face-lift and construction of 45 new homes on city-obtained land. The third phase is Eastown Residential, neighborhoods of single-family homes in which owners pay mortgages in the range of 40 percent to 60 percent of the median residential income.

Brooks said NSPT Non-Profit Housing Corporation and MECI received a $10,000 grant from a local bank to complete the application process to the state of Michigan to get approval for their plans. They also were able to obtain,
through another bank, a $3 million guarantee from bank investors who provided
monies for home mortgages.

Henry Hagood, director of development activities for the Detroit Planning
and Development Department, says the city “fully supports Bishop Brooks. He’s
filling in the holes in the community, bringing back the housing stock. He has
a built-in market. The faith-based market can have a major impact on what we’re
doing in the city.”

Brooks is a member of the Church of God in Christ’s General Board and bishop
of the Northeast Michigan Jurisdiction, where he oversees 90 churches. His
rebuilding work has been so successful the U.S. government invited him to a policy meeting based on his“ excellent reputation and proven ability,” said Ryan Streeter, director of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Center for Faith Based and Community Initiatives.

In the last decade, Brooks has implemented several faith-based ventures, including
a 57-unit seniors complex located on the church’s grounds. In 2001, NSPT
teamed with the nonprofit Faith Community Homebuyers Program (FCHP) to
educate people about mortgages.

The Wayne County First-Time Homebuyer Program contracted Brooks’ homebuyer’s program to manage its down payment housing assistance program. And that program made all the difference in Paul Schumacher’s dream of owning a home.

“I had gone through the orientation,” said Schumacher, a licensed builder. “As
time went on I realized I was not in a position where I could buy one. I was going
through a physical and emotional crisis at the time. … Without the down payment
program I would not have been able to pursue [a home] otherwise.”

Schumacher is living testament to the impact of Brooks’ vision. “We’ve got to
improve the quality of life for other people,” Brooks said. “As Isaiah 58:12 says, we
have to build up the waste places. We have to be in on the front end of development.

The church can no longer sit and let outsiders take it. We have to get in on it. We
have the opportunity to breathe new life.”


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


What’s the Answer to Raging Political Violence in the Nations?

What’s the Answer to Raging Political Violence in the Nations?

Read Time: 1 Minute, 21 Seconds I’ve had several prophetic words on political violence come to me in recent months. I can’t shake it, especially after seeing the vice president of Argentina narrowly escape an assassination because the would-be-murderer’s gun jammed....

Prophecy: The Lord is Releasing Prophetic Destinies

Prophecy: The Lord is Releasing Prophetic Destinies

Read Time: 1 Minute, 44 Seconds The world is shifting and we are entering a critical time in history, one that can be concerning for some and exciting for others. We are seeing the very prophecy of the Bible laid out and manifesting before us. The harvest is coming!...

David Jeremiah: The Significance of a Small Sacrifice

David Jeremiah: The Significance of a Small Sacrifice

Read Time: 4 Minutes, 28 Seconds Did you hear about the boy who took off his favorite bow tie during the church service and put it in the offering plate? When his dad asked him why he had done such a thing, the youngster replied, “Don’t you know? The pastor tells us...

Kingdom Economics: Choosing a Better Way—God’s Way

Kingdom Economics: Choosing a Better Way—God’s Way

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its third and final estimate of second quarter GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and its PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index). Since core (less food and energy) PCE is one of the Fed’s preferred measures of...

Orthodox Jew: The Miraculous Return of the Red Heifer to Israel

Orthodox Jew: The Miraculous Return of the Red Heifer to Israel

Read Time: 4 Minutes, 4 Seconds American Airlines flight 146 touched down at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on time, arriving from New York’s JFK airport as one of the dozens of flights that arrive in Israel from the US daily. While a regularly scheduled flight, among...

Brother Andrew Was My Hero

Brother Andrew Was My Hero

When Andrew van der Bijl was a young man, doctors told him he was “too weak to travel” because of his chronic back pain. That advice seems absurd now, when we look back on the life of this legendary evangelist who came to be known as “Brother Andrew.” After he started...


Prophecy: ‘You’re Coming Out of a Season of Great Trials and Into Something Brand New’

Read Time: 2 Minutes, 32 Seconds At the time of this writing (Sept. 27), we are in the Days of Awe—the 10 days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur. The Jewish New Year (which...
Elvis Presley’s Charismatic Faith on Display in New Book

Elvis Presley’s Charismatic Faith on Display in New Book

A new book called “The Faith of Elvis Presley” explores the spiritual side of the iconic “Heartbreak Hotel” singer, asserting that Elvis was a devout Christian who prayed for the infilling of the Holy Spirit on a regular basis. The author, Billy Stanley, whose mother...

Pin It on Pinterest