The winter season covers a period of the highest celebration in the religious culture and civic life of the United States. It is a period of time when the poor and homeless experience the most deadly conditions and the highest rates of suicide. It is also the season when capitalist commercialism and cultural ritualism combine with an intense public pretense of charity toward the poor and homeless.
The Winter Offensive is an eight week organizing drive (from Thanksgiving through MLK day) that confronts these conditions with a sustained message against the false narratives and stereotypes about the causes of poverty and homelessness. In the past, the Homeless Union’s Winter Offensives have included a series of synchronized actions and protests. These actions serve as schools for the identification, education, and training of leaders from the ranks of the poor and homeless through their struggles for survival and mass organizing, and to “Put the Christ Back in Christmas!”
Over the next eight weeks The Freedom Church of the Poor, in collaboration with the Homeless Union and other organizations of the poor, will challenge the false Biblical and religious narratives, expose the suffering and hypocrisy unleashed by our economic and political system, lift up the insights and fights of the poor and dispossessed who are on the front lines of these struggles, and work to identify and develop leaders for the long haul movement to end poverty.
We invite all to join the Freedom Church of the Poor online every Sunday from November 27th to Jan 15th for this season of sustained activity and study.
Click icons below to join us on Facebook and Youtube, or to join the Zoom room for services email us at [email protected]
Freedom Church of the Poor Service Schedule
(Find info and links to services here as they become available)
Advent of Revolution
Nov 27, 2022 (6:00pm ET)
Ending Homelessness and Poverty – Launch of the Winter Offensive 2022/23
On November 27th 2022, Freedom Church of the Poor will kick off in conjunction with the National Union of the Homeless in this year’s Winter Offensive. Hosted by Tammy and Matthew Rosing. Joined by many others to discuss what the Winter Offensive is, and how you can take action with us in your own town. We will discuss the false narratives that come from this time of year. Look at the reality of what we face and how to take action so that there are no more deaths in the streets. Everybody has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let’s come together to focus our efforts in this year’s Winter Offensive.
Dec 4, 2022 (6:00pm ET online and in-person)
Las Posadas – A Call for God’s Abundance for All (Combined service with La Iglesia del Pueblo)
As the Christian holiday season descends we re-read the story of Joseph and Mary who were told there was no room at the Inn, just as we are told that there is no housing for the homeless, no healthcare for the sick, no refuge for the immigrant. As the poor and dispossessed we are not looking for empty Christmas celebrations but the abundance that Jesus proclaimed for all and not just a few. This season, we see that a movement is being born in the forgotten mangers, the poor hoods and hollers of the nation. May we spread this good news that ending poverty and homelessness aren’t only possible, they are what God demands of us.
Dec 11, 2022 (6:00pm ET)
Revolutionary Mothers and Caregivers – Mary’s Magnificat
Our revolutionary mothers and caregivers have tended generations of revolutionaries with patient urgency. This week we celebrate how God has lifted the lowly and brought down the rich through the movements of the poor past and present, while looking to the policies that would lift the heartbreak of poverty for children, families, and caregivers. Scripture reading: (Luke 1:46-55 and James 5:7-10)
Dec 18, 2022 (6:00pm ET)
Mourn the Dead and Fight Like Hell for the Living
As we continue in the Winter Offensive season, we remember those who have died in the past year due to poverty and homelessness. The annual memorial for National Union of the Homeless highlights the challenges that the longest night of the year brings to those whose only roof is a winter sky, and to those most impacted by policy violence. This week we celebrate the conception of Immanuel, the God who chose such a night for his incarnation and whose life teaches us to mourn the dead and to fight like hell for the living. Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18-25
Dec 21, 2022 (Online and in-person 3:00pm-6:00pm ET)
The Winter Offensive Longest Night Vigil in NYC
Join us as we commemorate the Annual National Homeless Memorial Day in NYC and condemn the mass graves of unnamed poor and homeless men, women and children in “Potters’ Fields” around the country and internationally. We will share food and sing, give voice to our plight, and continue our collective fight demanding housing for all.
Join us in-person:
3:00pm – meet at 651 168th St. NYC
3:30pm – procession to the Juan Pablo Duarte (Triangle) Park, 170th & Broadway, NYC
Birth of a Movement
Dec 25, 2022 – (6:00pm ET)
Revolutionary Perseverance: Putting Christ Back in Christmas
Join us Sunday December 25th for Christmas with Freedom Church of the Poor. As we continue through the 2022/2023 Winter Offensive Organizing Drive, we will be uplifting this revolutionary time of year; when the old ends and the new begins – a rebirth of values and morality for a new year ahead. As part of the ceremony we will engage in lighting candles, as each presenter gives testimony, to represent those we have lost due to this unjust system. The scripture reading will be Luke 2:1-20, which tells of the birth of a revolutionary and of a revolution!
Jan 1, 2023 – (6:00pm ET)
Birth of a Movement: Challenging the Religion of Empire
We look ahead to the new year with strengthened commitment to realize a world rooted in love and guided by justice and truth. Like early Christians communities a central part of our struggle today is against a religion that degrades and divides us; a religion in the service of Empire. Leaders from Put People First Pennsylvania and La Iglesia del Pueblo will join and help us expose how these forces express themselves in the US and across the world. Their communities of struggle also gives us a glimpse of the world that we need and deserve, one of abundance life for all. Scripture reading: Luke 11:42, 46-52
Jan 8, 2023 – (6:00pm ET)
Birth of a Movement: Jesus as a Revolutionary Leader
Continuing our Winter Offensive series inspired by the National Union of the Homeless, this week the Freedom Church of the Poor reflects on Jesus as a revolutionary leader. According to the gospels, Jesus found his divine mission to proclaim “good news to the poor” in Hebrew scripture (Isaiah 61). Organizer and theologian, Rev. Erica Williams, will preach on this revolutionary Jesus, who overturned money changer’s tables and was executed by the Roman Empire. Scripture reading: Luke 20:1-8, 17-19.
Jan 15, 2023 – (6:00pm ET)
Birth of a Movement: Which MLK Do We Remember?
Which MLK Jr do we remember? In our final week of the Winter Offensive we lift up the King who proclaimed the need for “restructuring the whole of American society” and called forward the leadership of the poor to get us to the revolution of values that would make it possible.
Birth of a Movement Fact Sheet
This year Freedom Church, in collaboration with the Kairos Policy Team, is creating a Birth of a Movement Fact Sheet, one page of which will be released weekly for the duration of the season. This fact sheet exposes the realities of suffering and injustice in our society (policy), shares insight (testimonies) from those organizing and resisting that injustice, and offers Biblical truths and analysis about the Christmas season, which counter the traditional narratives that are paraded out every year to reinforce the system that kills the poor and creates poverty. Taken together this fact sheet clarifies the intimate connection between these religious/biblical myths and the policies and other charity-based “solutions” and underscores the need to organize our communities in a way that can understand and take on both.
By signing up for our mailing list, you will receive each page of the Birth of a Movement Fact Sheet as it is released. We encourage all to print, use and share this resource far and wide.
Cultural Resources for the Season
These visual arts, theomusicology and reading resources are available for you to download and use in your faith communities and/or organizing efforts during the season. The images can be printed out and hung in physical spaces, or shared virtually online, and songs can be played as videos or learned to sing as a group.
For further reading:
University of the Poor article, “The Homeless Union and its Winter Offensives to Organize the Poor and Dispossessed” by Willie Baptist and Savina Martin
The season of Advent is a time for revolutionary hope, a time to reflect on what it means that God has prepared the way to transform the world from the bottom up. This resource is a supplemental study guide for the Advent of a Revolution section of We Cry Justice: Reading the Bible With the Poor People’s Campaign, where we look more closely at some of the dominant themes and stories that shape this season and re-read those stories and themes from the perspective of the poor and dispossessed and out of the active and organized struggle of the poor for a more just world.
To participate, please sign up on this form and we will send you the password to access the Advent of a Revolution Study Series.
Partners for the Winter Offensive with Freedom Church of the Poor