The Greatest of These Is Love

At the Clinic, we have a lot to love! Our last Justice For All Gala was our most successful ever--raising $152,440.09 thanks to all of our supporters! We also welcomed four new Board Members in the past few weeks, like Todd Fisher, Carol Hartman, John Gurchiek, and Lori Torres! And we got to participate in the Spirit & Place Festival for the first time this past fall, helping more people in our community understand the needs of ex-offenders!

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Love Your Neighbor As Yourself: A Message from Director of Legal Services Brian Dunkel

This experience with Keith, though brief, gave him visible relief from the burden of uncertainty he was facing. And my interaction with Keith is not unique. In fact, since 1994, the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic has made its services accessible to our low-income neighbors through intake sites located in neighborhoods throughout Indianapolis.

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Meet the Clinic’s New Board Members: Carol Hartman and John Gurchiek

Carol Hartman first learned about the Clinic after a fortuitous Internet search. “I was looking for a way to do some volunteer work that was faith-based,” she says. “I went on your website and clicked on a link to volunteer.” For years, she sought opportunities that would utilize her unique set of skills. “I’ve worked in the tax world since the beginning of my career both as a CPA and as a lawyer. And I was wondering how I could best use those experiences to advance the Kingdom.”

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False Evidence

Chase and his team wondered if the same dealership might have procured judgments against other individuals using false evidence. “Our intern for the summer did a review and found 322 other similar cases,” says Chase. “The total judgments were close to $2 million dollars.”

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Recognizing God's Provision

Recognizing God’s provision is often pivotal to the work that Michael does—most especially when that work is messy. “[At times, I find myself] working with some pretty broken situations and still not being able to fix them,” he says. On occasion, there are no good options for our clients; a foreclosure cannot be prevented and Michael finds himself in the position of having to deliver bad news. “I don’t like it when things don’t work,” he says. “My hope is that we can offer assistance of some sort often, yet it sometimes doesn’t take the shape that people are hoping for.” But even when things don’t work precisely as his clients would like, Michael is there to walk through the process alongside them.

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God With Us: A Message From Executive Director Chris Purnell

The psalms say that, “God is near to all who call on him, who call on him in truth” (Ps. 145:18). Our clients call out as they feel stymied and oppressed; our staff-team calls out as well; God comes near and provides guidance, comfort, and belonging.

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Homeless Youth: Courting Justice Podcast Episode 2x03

In 2011, according to the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention, 24% of all people experiencing homelessness were under the age of 24. In 2014, there were 354 homeless youth just in the Indianapolis area alone. What are the causes of youth homelessness? What are the unique challenges faced by homeless youth? And what services are available to assist those in need?

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A Promise Fulfilled

Dee Dee Gowan was only 21 years old when she was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy. Her first duty station was the Naval Ocean Processing Facility at Ford Island, a small island inside Pearl Harbor. For three years, she lived and worked in Hawaii, but was assigned to her next duty station at the Pentagon during the First Gulf War. On her last day in Hawaii, Dee Dee looked through the plane window and promised herself that when she had a family of her own, she would return. But three decades passed, life got in the way, and the promise she made to herself went unfulfilled.

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Justice, Faith & Power Video Series

This five-part video series explores the challenges faced by those who re-enter society after prison, as well as the power they can reclaim over their own lives through expungement and specialized driving privileges. 

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New Creation: A Message From Executive Director Chris Purnell

 
Chris Purnell

Chris Purnell

 

Have you ever explored the Enneagram? If you haven’t, you really should. It’s pretty much a personality test for those who love to read terrible things about themselves. It has been a delight to watch family, friends, and coworkers take various tests, kick against their number and eventually realize that it has made some powerful and truthful statements about who they are.

I’m a “4,” which means that I “can become so attached to longing and disappointment that [I am] unable to recognize the many treasures” in my life. Not exactly the kind of guy you would want to grab a beer with—but I’m happy to if you want to talk about everything that’s wrong with me, you, and the world.

This wallowing is a little of how I’m wired. I see problems. I see brokenness. Maybe you do as well. You look inside of yourself and see profound weakness and wonder if that will ever change. You look at others and wonder how they go through life so easily. You look out and see a world marred by injustice and inequality and you lament.

Many of our clients have walked through this brokenness. Many have come from villages torn to pieces by militias; many have been persecuted because of their ethnicity or religion; many have been stuck in cycles of grinding generational poverty; many have been victimized and assaulted by those who are closest to them and have vowed to love them to the end.

But those same clients often remind our staff that not all is brokenness, not all is shattered hopes abandoned on the shoals of a harsh reality. They have faith that has been tested in the fire of adversity. They remind us of the words of Paul, who said that “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17) We can often forget that because of Christ—his life, sacrifice, and resurrection—there truly is something beautiful and new that is happening in our world. The New Creation has begun, and that is cause for rejoicing!

It is also cause for work. Right before that verse, Paul says that Christ “died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves” (2 Cor. 5:15). We rejoice that Christ has changed everything and thus we live lives of sacrifice. We pour out our lives in service to those who have been the victims of injustice, along with those mundane sacrifices on behalf of our families and friends.

May you see and be moved by the brokenness around you, living not only for yourself but for the sake of others. And may you also embrace the New Creation that Christ has begun, rejoicing in what he has done and is continuing to do by his Spirit.  

Until justice and peace embrace,

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Chris

November Verse

Justice For All Gala 2017 Video & Highlights

Keynote speaker Bob Goff encouraged those in attendance to bring their beliefs and actions into alignment with one another, telling everyone to, "Synch it up!" He said that doing this might be frightening, but that we should be even more afraid of complacency, saying, "The most dangerous thing we can do is play it safe; we were born to be brave!"

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Which Path Will You Choose?: A Message from Board Member Matthew Barr

In many ways, our community is at a crossroads when it comes to helping our neighbors and friends achieve a basic level of justice. One path leads to increased marginalization of the poor and lost opportunities for parents and children struggling to keep their homes, find jobs, avoid persecution or abuse, or reenter society. Another brighter path leads to increased access to justice, providing life-changing peace of mind and hope for those in our community who currently have none.

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The Lord Will Provide

In 1994, the Legal Clinic finally opened its doors to the public, but it was slow going at the start. “I don’t know how many people we helped that first year,” Lynn says, “But you probably wouldn’t have to take off your shoes to count them.” Since that time, the Clinic has expanded to serve more than 10,000 low-income people annually, with over 35 staff members, a satellite office in Ft. Wayne, numerous intake sites around the city of Indianapolis, and a team of committed volunteers.

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