A new multicultural church in East Waterloo, Iowa, is reaching out to Waterloo’s young people, as well as to poor and chronically unemployed residents of the city.
“I believe in social justice and reconciliation,” says Rev. Reggie Haywood, pastor of the Home Missions-supported New Straightway Church. “Jesus calls us to be ministers of a holistic gospel, and we want to be a bridge of hope for disenfranchised youth.”
People coming on Sunday morning to listen to Pastor Reggie preach testify to the power of the gospel message and Haywood’s ability to connect to this community. “God has gifted Reginald Haywood with excellent gifts in evangelism; he reaches out to young urban blacks and cross-culturally in racial reconciliation to all races,” says Rev. Bob Price, leader of Black Ministries for the Christian Reformed Church.
In addition to the young people in attendance at Straightway, adult leaders serve as dedicated Sunday school teachers, worship leaders, Bible study leaders, prison ministry leaders, social activists, and deacons.
Each Sunday the church provides transportation to and from church, a substantial meal, and plates of food to take home. There is also a radio broadcast, a website, and a social justice conference.
In the words of a friend of New Straightway, “New Straightway is an extraordinary idea in ministry . . . Rev. Haywood is truly seeking to teach those who, for a variety of reasons, have never had the opportunity to learn the story of God’s love for us.”