Looking Back, Hoping Forward (Joe & Susan Tucker)

At South Street Ministries, we believe in the hope of Advent. In this season of overflow and celebration, giving is more important than receiving. Advent-ageous Giving is all about that sentiment. As we give, we receive a deeper understanding and connection to God and Beloved Community. This first month, read a reflection from ministry couple Joe and Susan Tucker, who are both heavily involved at The Front Porch–Joe as the Executive Director of South Street Ministries, and Susan Tucker, M.D., as the Assistant Medical Director at Faithful Servants Care Center.

Susan: One of the Tucker family traditions is the celebration of Advent
a wreath with five candles and weekly devotions that center us on the coming of Jesus 2,000 years ago and the expectant hope of Christ’s return and the fullness of His Kingdom. Two of our six advent seasons together have been spent ‘expecting’ the arrival of children, something that sharpened our awareness of the season. We have come to appreciate the practice of Advent in that it elongates the Nativity season and challenges something so foreign: slow-down.

Joe: Ministry life is busy, urgent. Perhaps one of the most common trappings of ministry is the tyranny of the urgent — someone needs housing NOW, a family is in crisis, a staffing issue needs dealt with immediately. It has been a decade long journey for me to learn how to navigate the many immediate needs with the long-term steps necessary for community impact, organizational growth, and Kingdom-work. This learning process was compounded by the addition of family to the mix of ministry life. When I started at South Street Ministries in 2009, I was single — I had the ability to open up the café at 7 am as well as close down for a group at 10 pm. Nearly 10 years later, my ministry schedule is not as flexible. Now the immediate needs of South Street crash against the daily realities of family life, a life that has immediate needs of its own!

Joe & Susan (far left) with the entire Tucker family. They’re holding their boys, James & AJ.

Susan: One of the Unlikely Partners in South Street’s work is Faithful Servants Urgent Care Center. We operate clinic nights at The Front Porch every Wednesday. This partnership isn’t all that unlikely though, since it is reflective of the Tucker family–Joe at South Street Ministries, and myself at Faithful Servants. One of the new wineskins of ministry for us is the flip-flop of schedules for who is at The Front Porch and who is parenting or transporting the boys!

Joe: On one such flip-flop Tuesday afternoon, I picked up the boys and headed to the Summit Lake Farmer’s Market to buy some jam. This was the fifth year of the Summit Lake Farmer’s Market. South Street Ministries helped found the market and maintained a staff presence at the market this year leading health lessons for youth. As I arrived, I had a moment of clarity. Despite the busy day, and taciturn tykes, I remembered how far this market had come. It was a divine moment, remembering and experiencing God’s Kingdom progress over those five years. In the midst of a hectic summer with many pressing needs and issues, I had the serenity to look back and hope forward.

Susan: As we approach the Advent season, let’s look back and hope forward. Amidst the busyness of the season, Advent is an intentional pause — to light candles, read Scriptures, remember the advent of Christ, and hope forward to His Kingdom come fully.

Joe: I have many days at South Street (and I know Susan does at Faithful Servants) where a feeling of overwhelmedness can dominate our days–where the actions of the day don’t seem to outweigh the challenges around us. However, these feelings are always quelled with perspective — when we remember how far God has brought us as organizations, as a people, and as individuals. The tyranny of the urgent seems less tyrannical because God IS. God IS good, always. God IS love, always. God IS provider, always. As we look back and hope forward, Advent reflections have empowered us, in God, to live presently.


The Tuckers


 Be a part of Advent-ageous Giving! www.southstreetministries.org/donate 

Advent Connections

Thanksgiving! Christmas! I love cold seasons in beautiful Ohio!

If this isn’t your favorite time of year, I can’t relate.  Being a lover of cold weather, warm flavors, and family gatherings, this is hands-down the best time of year for me.  South Street Ministries, too, seems to transform in this season.  Thanksgiving comes quicker every year starting with our Thanksgiving Basket Drive.  That’s always a fun night.  Standing in inevitably cold weather, giving food to our neighbors starts a season which we choose to make generosity-filled, and centered in gratitude.

I’m well aware of the anxiety and pressure the American holiday season has been known to create, though.  Rightfully so in many cases! This can be a lonely, cold, consumer-driven mad dash to January.  A season to celebrate Christ’s birth (in the wrong month, by the way) has become little more than a capitalist society’s binge session. I know how it leaves a bad taste in peoples’ mouths.

At South Street Ministries, though, we push back against the worst of the season for the sake of Christ and our neighbors.  We live into our mission in all seasons—Unlikely Partners Taking Shared Risks to Renew the Community for Christ’s Sake.  This means we have the power—in our words, actions, and work—to reclaim this season for the good of the neighborhood!  We choose to give away instead of storing up. We choose joy over bitterness, no matter the hardships we face.  We choose to serve instead of demanding more from everyone around us!

We believe anyone can make the holiday season an Advent-ageous one!  I’m excited to tell you that in November and December you can do just that: we need your financial support to continue loving neighbors and giving back. We want to redeem the holiday season with you, and we need your support to make it happen!

Imagine Summit Lake without Afterschool and Summer Camp…imagine returning citizens trying to make their way without South Street’s Reentry support…

To be specific, South Street Ministries needs your financial gift now more than ever.  Monthly commitments and one-time gifts made in November & December will help South Street to continue giving eternal gifts to our neighbors in Summit Lake, South Akron, and all over Summit County! We hope you take advantage of Advent connections this season which will support all of South Street Ministries programs and initiatives in 2019. Please see some options below to support all of South Street’s programs and initiatives.

Here’s to heartfelt giving & redeeming the best of the season,


Year-End Giving 2018

We’re excited about Advent-ageous giving!

Here are some specific ways to support South Street Ministries from November 1st to December 31st:

  • A Year-End Contribution – Give smart!  Choose to make your year-end contribution to South Street Ministries either online or by check (mail to: South Street Ministries, 130 W. South Street Akron, 44301, with “End of Year” in the memo line). Visit http://southstreetministries.org/donate/ to learn more or to make a one-time donation
  • Giving Tuesday – Make an impact this year on Giving Tuesday, November 27th – give online to South Street Ministries’ efforts and shout us out on social media: tag “South Street Ministries CDC” and use the hashtag #GivingTuesday to share your good deed with others!
  • Eat for South Street! – Come out to your favorite restaurants from November to January, buy a meal or two, and a portion of the contributions will go straight to South Street Ministries.  In-store purchases only. Some rules apply.  Contact Erin for more information – erin@southstreetministries.org or 234.352.0678 (See the full flyer with list of restaurants and dates HERE)
  • “Pay it Forward” Christmas Gift – Instead of one big-ticket item this Christmas, use the funds to invest in South Street’s many ministries – an alternative Christmas gift makes for an impactful monthly contribution to South Street Ministries.  Visit http://southstreetministries.org/donate/ for more information or to donate monthly.
  • Smile.Amazon.com – Make South Street Ministries your favorite on Amazon Smile when you shop now and year-round!  Choose us as the organization that gets a portion back from your Christmas shopping.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support throughout the year,

Erin Irwin