Friday, April 10
Dale Smith drives over 26 miles to worship at First Presbyterian Church of Allentown. When asked why he travels so far, he is quick to say, “Because I can see God at work through this church, and I want to be part of that community.” Dale read a couple of books recommended by fellow church members—Halftime by Bob Buford and Hole in the Gospel by Richard Stearns. They led him further in his journey to discern what’s next. He felt strongly that God was calling him to apply his professional skills in a more significant way.
In May 2011, Dale participated in training for the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which had intrigued him following the deaths of several people on the streets of Allentown the preceding winter. Following much prayer, many conversations with his men’s discipleship group, and heartfelt reflection with his wife, Elaine, Dale said yes to this emerging call to become an advocate for the homeless. In June 2012, he resigned from corporate life and immediately got involved with Allentown’s Commission to End Chronic Homelessness, to which he brought his professional skills and experience as well as the best practices of 100,000 Homes.
With a $25,000 start-up grant from First Presbyterian and contributions from other congregations and the community, Dale cofounded a new nonprofit called the Grass-Roots Alliance for Neighborhood Development (GRAND).In 2013 the GRAND paid for interim lodging for over 30 homeless men and women in single-occupancy rooms in a refurbished hotel. Through his leadership, the GRAND has been able to place 22 of these individuals in long-term housing. Dale has also become a prophetic witness to the city and its business and faith communities in calling attention to the plight of the homeless. “I serve the homeless because I believe that no citizen should live his or her life in the rough,” Dale says. “I know that I need to apply my gifts in this way to be the disciple that Christ has called me to be.”
Lehigh Presbytery serves 34 worshiping communities and their 8,352 members.
—Steve Shussett, teaching presbyter and stated clerk
Let us join in prayer for:
Rev. Lindsay Harren-Lewis, member, PMA Board
Thomas Paisley, corresponding member, PMA Board
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Holy One, may we hear you calling us to participate in your inbreaking kingdom. May we recognize just how you have prepared us. And may we, with gratitude, give as you ask. In Christ’s name. Amen.