The work we have done- in partnership with the Hope Center over the past 13 years- has brought down repeat offenses among juveniles to 15%. A few years ago Lynn was ranked the third most violent city in our state and it has dropped down to fifth. While gang violence is decreasing we have another rising battle- heroin. Lynn ranks as the 5th largest city of deaths from heroin overdoses- in the entire commonwealth.
By calling Pastor Claire to Lynn God also called her to the nations. Our city has over 100 Bengali refugees, a large Guatemalan community who are survivors of genocide; we are the third largest Cambodian city in the nation where all the parents are survivors of the killing fields.
This is our context. This is our mission field.
On the day of 9/11 Pastor Claire received a call from God to Straight Ahead Ministries as their Metro Boston Director. Straight Ahead is a national ministry founded by Scott and Hanne Larson to juvenile offenders ages 14-24. Within 1.5 years the Straight Ahead Metro Boston Site was chosen as a National Demonstration Site for Best Practices by the Public Private Ventures (PPV) funded by the White House Office of Faith Based Initiatives, the Department of Justice and the Annie Casey Foundation. At the time repeat offences (arrests) were at an 86% rate nationally among juvenile offenders and state wide in MA. Within 1 year of Straight Ahead's Metro Boston site's demonstrations being in action, repeat offense dropped to 15%.
In 2003 Pastor Claire received another call from the Lord through a dream- pack up and move to Lynn, MA to start a church reaching the poorest of poor in the city. The Lord even gave the name for the church, House of Hope. When Pastor Claire began this adventure with the Lord, she did not know that Lynn is the 3rd largest Cambodian city in the nation. She soon found out the parents of the youth and young adults she was reaching are all survivors of the Killing Fields. House of Hope's plant began in her apartment with some of these youth- 2 Cambodian gang members who were reached through one of her Straight Ahead church services in detention. Today one of those boys is now 27 years old, preaches at the church and co-leads the men's group. He is also the program manager at Straight Ahead upstairs from the church. The plant at the apartment began to burst at the seams and off the church moved to Munroe Street in Lynn. We were able to feed up to 80 homeless every Sunday morning at the start of church. Still in her role at Straight Ahead and at the church, the Lord began to move about the weaving of these two ministries together even more. In 2004 at the Greater Boston Pastors Prayer Summit Pastor Claire heard with confirmation of trusted pastors that "two streams would become one."
In 2011 House of Hope Church and Straight Ahead Lynn became "one stream" and moved into a building together called the Hope Center. In 2013 Pastor Claire took on the call and role as the founding director of the Hope Center of Lynn. House of Hope Church does what Straight Ahead cannot do. It provides a church that welcomes those who age out of Straight Ahead at 24. As you journey through our website you will see how House of Hope Church and Straight Ahead Lynn are putting feet on it's mission together with the love of Christ.
Partners in reaching, supporting, and empowering individuals and families who have been deeply affected by incarceration, homelessness, violence and addiction through a community of hope and faith in Christ.