Jesus takes up residence in a homeless laborer born out of wedlock into a world with no vacancies. Come among us as an outcast, he ministers with a bias: the sick are healed, the untouchable are touched, the poor are prioritized. Present in what’s most vulnerable, he blesses the brokenness. Believing that Church is located where Jesus shows up, Haywood Street invites what is most spiritually disruptive: encountering the sacred in the person most unlike you.
Jesus reveals his ethic through story: a shepherd abandons the flock to rescue one lost lamb; a Good Samaritan pays the bill for an enemy’s care; a father throws a party for his rebellious son. Grace is always surprising, a refusal to reward the deserving, a gesture of love that’s unconditional, an attempt to overwhelm with more than just enough. Translating his stories into service, Haywood Street wants to be wasteful in ministry, surpassing basic needs with the practice of plenty.
Jesus trespasses the boundaries of dining etiquette. Inviting all to his Table- the table of worship, the table of hospitality, the table of belonging- he knows that eating together is a transformative act where stereotypes are subverted, where all are made equal in the giving and receiving, where every child of God has a seat. Convinced that holy things happen when food is shared, Haywood Street intends for every gathering to be a family meal.
Haywood Street’s core programs provide a platform for the ministry of relationship, which can be defined simply as the act of “being with” and speaks to our deepest identity. It contrasts with “doing for” and requires spending time together, talking and listening, serving and being served, giving and receiving. It forms the basis for our unique and transformative companion ministry.
The Mercy League supports Holy Ground by using relationships as the basis for promoting peace and safety on campus. Trained in de-escalation techniques and committed to honoring the dignity and worth of each individual, staff who work as part of the Mercy League have a goal of knowing each person who comes to Haywood Street by name. Believed to be way more powerful than the Justice League, the Mercy League was born during a time when the size and scope of Haywood St. was increasing and conflict on campus was becoming more common.