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Alleluia story: The Apostles' House

Lamasha and her daughter.
Judy Bennett, CEO, Apostles’ House

The Apostles’ House in Newark turned 30 years old last January. Founded by six area Episcopal Churches (House of Prayer, Newark; Trinity Cathedral and St. Phillip’s, Newark; Christ Church, Short Hills; St. Luke’s, Montclair; and St. George’s, Maplewood), the agency’s continuing mission is to provide comprehensive social services to homeless and “at risk” families in an environment that enables and encourages self-sufficiency.

The agency has fostered many families in their time of need, but the story that stands out for me is that of my colleague, Lamasha Crooks. In 2010, 24 years old and nine months pregnant, Lamasha was placed at The Apostles’ House by the state’s child protective services. Within two weeks of arriving, Lamasha gave birth to a baby girl. Mother and daughter lived at Apostles’ House for four months before relocating to permanent housing. Though no longer living in the shelter, Lamasha had found a home at Apostles’ House. While earning a college degree in accounting, Lamasha continued to volunteer on weekends as a Residential Assistant, and in 2013 was offered a full time accounts receivable position in the agency’s finance department where she remains today.

Reading between the lines of Lamasha’s story, you will find that she has had a lot of hurt perpetrated upon her in her young life. And sadly, Lamasha’s daughter has been plagued will numerous illnesses, was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor, and requires 24-hour care with a home health aide. At Apostles’ House, Lamasha has found a nurturing environment where she can thrive and care for her daughter. We are her surrogate family; this is our mission.

And this is just one true Apostles’ House story. Thirty years of stories will be celebrated later this year at our masquerade gala, Unmask the Future, on October 24 at the Westminster Hotel. I invite the Episcopal Diocese of Newark to share in our celebration!

Since its inception in 2010, the Alleluia Fund for Outreach has distributed over $500,000 to congregation-based or -affiliated ministries and programs working to transform lives in our diocese and internationally. As part of our diocesan-wide Easter season celebration, several of our ministry partners will share stories of men, women and children whose lives have been transformed. Thank you to Lamasha and Judy of Apostle’s House for this Alleluia story.