No, your neighbor is not selling their house. They aren’t having a yard sale. And, yes, it is far too early to put up 2020 election lawn signs. So, what is with that lawn sign that says Homes of Hope on it in your neighbor's front yard all about. Below the cryptic title is contact information for Mount Hope Church, here in Portland. Recently, these signs have popped up around town. Curious, we sat down with Pastor Joe Robbe and his wife Nancyanne to learn more.
“There is so much despair in the world today, and we see it in a heightened mental illness and suicide rate,” says Nancyanne Robbe, Director of Christian Education at Mount Hope Church. According to Mrs. Robbe, the idea began last Halloween time out of desire to the community in a meaningful way to help address the problem. Church members started posting lawn signs at their homes advertising their home as a Home of Hope. “We wanted to make sure people know that there is a place they can go,” says Mrs. Robbe,”if they are feeling...hopeless,”chimes in Pastor Robbe. “There is hope at those homes either directly in conversation or by taking them to the right people who can help,” he continues.
Seeing stories of death and despair in the news has become so commonplace that it hardly phases us anymore. “I’ve done hundreds of funerals and there is such a difference between those who have their faith and hope in Christ. There is sadness but there is an underlying hope,” said Pastor Robbe. He said that from his experience in pastoral counseling that what is so often needed is simply a shift in perspective to help someone through a hard time in their life--to realize that there is hope--that it can get better.
Pastor Robbe wants the community to know that Mount Hope Church is such a place to reach to for help. Mount Hope Church is located at 845 Ionia Rd. in Portland or via phone at 517-647-4136.