The Rev. Thomas Anderson, MSJ

The Rev. Thomas Anderson, MSJ's picture
User Profile
The Rev. Thomas Anderson, MSJ
Church Info
Home Church Address
HOPE Anglican Chapel
219 West River Road
Oscoda, MI 48750
United States
Organization Name
HOPE Anglican Chapel / Emmanuel Mission Shelter
Type of Organization
Church Ministry
Your Position/Title within your Organization
Pastor - HOPE Anglican Chapel • Director Emmanuel Mission Shelter
Organization Address
219 West River Road
Oscoda, MI 48750
United States
Organization Phone Number
Organization URL
Work of Ministry
At-risk Women and Children Care (Crisis Pregnancy)
Battered Women
Housing Reform
Post Incarceration Care
Special Needs population
Substance Abuse/Addiction
Organization Email
Description of Organization
Emmanuel Mission is a Home-Missionary based ministry that is actively engaged in caring for those who find themselves homeless. The missionary workers are, in essence, an ecumenical community of Christ-followers who currently represent nine denominations. Each has prayerfully considered their calling and roll in working with a core group of Religious Clergy and Lay Religious members of the Missionary Society of St. John The Evangelist. The Mission provides emergency homeless shelter, meals, a permanent postal address, free laundry, seasonal clothing assistance, showers, and most importantly, dedicated case managers who work with our regional continuum of care to provide guidance through the maze of local, state, and federal programs in search of a match that will get the client into permanent supportive housing.
Organization Years In Operation
Does your ministry offer internships?
Yes, college internship(s).
Strengths of Organization
The strength of Emmanuel Mission has, from the outset, been the focus on personal relationships among the Missionaries who treat each other as brothers and sisters worthy of love and respect. Emmanuel Mission has cultivated a "speakers bureau" on a variety of topics that relate to homelessness. We have also cultivated partnerships with a variety of like-minded ministries as diverse as the Salvation Army, MISHDA, FEMA, and local organizations like the United Way, Kiwanis, and the Optimist Clubs.
Would you consider your role part time or full time within justice and mercy ministry?
Full Time
How many years have you been in ministry among the vulnurable, marginalized, and under-resourced?
What training did you receive that equipped you for justice and mercy ministries?
My formation in Justice and Mercy Ministry was launched when my seminary mentor gave me two small volumes by the late Roland Allen (1868-1947) in which he postulated that success among the "natives" (ie. homeless) required that one have expectations that the Lord would accomplish works in people if there were first to meet Christ, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit who would lead them into all truth. I completed my CPE training in a state prison post-surgical and physical rehabilitation center...behind bars in a medium security facility. I have received training and participated in the Kiros program (Cursillo behind bars), serviced on the Board of the Michigan Prisoner Reentry Program, and have received clinical training grief and reconciliation training in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord Michigan to service with Project Rachel and Rachel's Vineyard. I am an active member of the Michigan Coalition for the prevention of Homelessness and Serve on the Board of the Northeast Michigan Coalition for the Prevention of Homelessness and Hunger.
What are your primary concerns for the ministry?
Jesus told his disciples that, "The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me." Everything thing Jesus did he did both well and completely.He would not always be there with them, but Jesus does tell the disciples that though He must go away, he will send a helper, the Holy Spirit. Too often Justice and Mercy ministries are founded first on desires to act and do, and at some point we have to consider that the Holy Spirit our "helper." Our work is founded upon the Benedictine rule, whose first line requires that we first "Listen."
What feels like the most difficult aspect of your life in ministry?
Managing personal time and investing time in people who may be trusted with responsibilities. Because our missionaries have been commissioned for this service in there own church tradition, and later confirmed in that commission by our own Father General, it takes time and patience to train and walk with those being developed into like-minded missionaries.
What gives you the greatest joy?
To see one of our clients go from despairing over the loss of the stuff of life that provides worldly identifications, to a peaceful soul who is content to listen for the voice of his or her Redeemer calling.
Tell us a bit about your story and your heart for justice and mercy.
I came to this ministry after hearing a local pastor who was "running" the homeless shelter describe his level of burnout after two years of operating the Homeless Shelter which he was about to close. When I shared this plan for closing the only Shelter in a 90 mile radius with my council, It was the cry of justice and mercy from the core group of my little flock that melted my heart and gave me a desire to meet the needs of the "least of these, my brethren."