By Jonathan Tindor
“Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children are gone. But now this is what the Lord says: ‘Do not weep any longer… There is hope for your future.'” Jeremiah 31:15–17
Rachel’s House is a ministry of Lower Lights Ministries. Lower Lights works in the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. Franklinton is historic. It is the first area settled in central Ohio. On the South Bank of the Scioto River, Franklinton has been subject to deadly floods, violence, urban decay, and poverty.
“In 2002, Rachel’s House was born to address the growing need for prisoner-reentry support. Lower Lights Ministries observed a disturbing trend among those living in our neighborhood: a high number of the households are female-headed and women play a vital role in family leadership, but many of our mothers are caught in the cycles of crime, drugs and prostitution, thus leading them to prison. While at least 95% of current prison inmates will reenter society, in Ohio, 27.1% will recidivate” (Rachel’s House Website).
In 2016, Rachel’s House received a Mission Support Grant from the Deaconess Community. Kristina Neff is the Director of Philanthropy at Rachel’s House. She wrote about Rachel’s House recent activities:
Late last summer, at Rachel’s House, we created more of a team-based approach to leadership. This allows our women to have a healthy support system and not rely on one person (the director) for support in all areas her life (i.e. emotional, relational, spiritual). In addition to the program director, this team now includes a program coordinator (peer-to-peer/recovery support, transportation), case manager (scheduling meetings/appointments), house manager (lives in the home). What’s most exciting is our program coordinator and house manager are both Rachel’s House graduates – reflective of our leadership development model to ministry. We love seeing our participants become active leaders!
Franklinton is now on the rise. So much so that The Atlantic used it as the centerpiece for a series of articles about the development of Columbus. Progress is due in part to organizations like Lower Lights Ministries and Rachel’s House. They have built community in Franklinton when few others cared.