I had thought that all hope was lost and that I could not change, I was in a pit of despair with no agency facing 5 years in prison at 17 years old, but God reached down and transformed my life from inside the walls to outside, from inside my soul to outside into the community.
I have been concerned with the Justice and Liberation of Jesus since I was a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College and a member of underground church NYC a collective of punk rockers and counter cultured youth committed to reaching the outcast populations in the Bowery and at the late rock club CBGB’s. Those nights doing outreach completely clarified for me Matthew 25:31-46. We are called toward compassion and real alternatives to this system.
I studied social work at CUNY Hunter College but it was in direct care and ministry that a seed was planted that has me in New York Theological Seminary now earning my Masters of Divinity. Those outreaches in 2005 propelled me to live in abandoned buildings and to sleep on the streets some nights and even allow myself to be put on public assistance for lack of a job but also because I believe God was instilling in me the very real struggles the unseen face everyday in this city. I also had a felony and getting a job seemed hopeless. But, like the nature of God, I learned how to innovate. So I started my own ministry and became my own social worker etc.
I tried to run from it and be a computer tech guy and a salesman but I only found myself back in the arms of Penn Station, Union Square, The Vents by NYU and Washington Square Park and under the bridges in Riverbank Park. It’s with this background I seek real answers and hope to a population that I think and or believe God does not see them or hear them.
I am that voice that will say, ‘God does hear you and He is with you, and Fighting for You’.
In Grace and Solidarity!
John Paul Ross