COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Aug. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) is now operating as Citygate Network. Members of the 112-year-old organization were first presented with the idea of rebranding in June 2017. Over the past twelve months, the importance of a makeover was explained through internal publications and other media. The new name was introduced just prior to the organization's June 2018 annual convention.
Citygate Network references the gathering places that were created between inner and outer gates of walled cities in biblical times. For strangers and settlers alike, welcome, protection, aid, advice, supplies, legal resolution, and more could always be found there.
"Urban centers today don't have literal city gates—those courtyards of acceptance and assistance," says Citygate Network President John Ashmen, "but metaphorically speaking, we need them more than ever. In fact, we need a network of always-open city gates from coast to coast where the most marginalized members of society can enter and find what they need to complete the journey from human suffering to human flourishing."
Rescue missions have been part of the North American landscape since the 1870s, providing help and hope to hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted people. In many U.S. and Canadian cities, a member of this network is often the largest homeless services provider. In some cities, it is the only homeless services provider.
One of the reasons for the rebranding is that more and more missions these days are expanding beyond the food, clothing, shelter, and addiction recovery programs for which they have been known. They are also offering recuperative care, mental health assessments, medical and dental treatment, general and specialized education, job training and placement, housing acquisition services, and community engagement opportunities.
"Our member organizations meet people at their lowest point and offer radical hospitality," Ashmen says. "But immediate help needs to be married to long-term hope. More specifically, the act of rescue needs to be joined to the process of gospel-powered life transformation. And that's why a growing number of our members are offering these services, or they are collaborating with other agencies that do. Rescue still occurs," Ashmen continued, "but these days, we are equally about restoration and re-assimilation."
With this broadened perspective, a lot of independent ministries and even churches that work with poor and powerless people, but don't see themselves as traditional rescue missions, can now fit comfortably within the Citygate Network.
Even with a new name and wider focus, the Christian gospel is still front and center with every missions and ministry that is part of Citygate Network. The gospel is seen as the supernatural catalyst for change in the life of a person that sets this large group of autonomous organizations apart within our culture.
"The Bible tells us that life comes with a reset button," Ashmen points out. "It says that if someone repents and turns to Jesus, they can become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun. Our tagline underscores this prospect. It says 'Enter here. Start anew.' And that's what hundreds of thousands of people do every year."
Citygate Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO, with approximately 300 members in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean. For more information go to www.agrm.org or www.citygatenet.org.