PHILADELPHIA — Many churches try to do what Tenth Presbyterian Church in center city Philadelphia does through its mercy ministry, Active Compassion Through Service (ACTS). Volunteers hold Bible studies in the city’s prisons and nursing homes, and with the staff at a public library. Church members host a weekly meal for homeless men and a weekly worship service with patients at an AIDS hospice. The church has spun off a crisis pregnancy center and Harvest USA, now a national ministry to those with sexual struggles.
David Apple, ACTS’ director these last 25 years, recalls that when the church tried to get its mercy ministry off the ground in the 1980s, people would get up and move to other pews if a homeless person came in: “I had to pray that God would do the changing.” Now, Tenth’s worship services themselves have become a picture of a less divided city: Rich and poor pack together in the church’s historic wooden pews.
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