Rev. Rudy Rasmus led three teaching sessions at the 2011 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. All three teaching sessions will be available free of charge online in the Conference’s NEW VIDEO GALLERY. Photos by Rev. Jim Mundell.
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Rudy Rasmus is an emergent messenger, an urban prophet, and global humanitarian with a passion for outreach to our world’s poorest citizens. Pastor Rudy co-pastors the St. John’s United Methodist Church located in Downtown Houston with his wife Juanita.
Beginning with 9 existing members in 1992, St. John’s has grown to over 9,000 members (3,000 of the total either are or were formerly homeless) in sixteen years into one of the most culturally diverse congregations in the country where every week people of every social and economic background share the same pew. He attributes the success of the church to a compassionate congregation who has embraced the vision of tearing down the walls of classism, sexism, and racism and building bridges of unconditional love, universal recovery, and unprecedented hope.
Photos by Rev. Jim Mundell.
Pastor Rudy founded the Bread of Life, Inc. (a not for profit corporation) with Juanita in December of 1992 and began serving dinners to the homeless in the sanctuary at St. John’s. Years later the Bread of Life has changed the landscape of Downtown Houston providing an array of services to homeless men and women seven nights a week in the Bread of Life Community Health Facility on the St. John’s campus. The project provides over 10,000 hot meals each month to the homeless men and women and distributes over 9 tons of fresh food each week to hungry families and provides shelter to over 100 homeless individuals every night from 7pm-7am in an innovative housing first initiative called “After Dark” where services are provided during the critical nighttime hours. The HIV “Get Tested” Project provides HIV/AIDS testing on Sundays after church services and throughout the week to thousands each year. As a result of many years of service to the community, Pastor Rudy received the coveted 2009 Jefferson Award at a ceremony in Washington DC which is considered the Nobel Prize of community service.
Thanks to generous donations from long time members Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and the Knowles Family, the campus now includes the $1.2 million Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth and the $5 million Knowles-Temenos Place Apartments. The project is a 43 unit Single Room Occupancy (SRO) development designed to provide transitional living accommodations for women and men who are taking significant steps in improving their lives after personal and natural disasters. Pastor Rudy also coordinates domestic and global anti-hunger initiatives in conjunction with Beyonce’s concert tours throughout the year.
Pastor Rudy is a monthly contributor to Oprah Winfrey’s “O Magazine” in an ethics column entitled “Now What Do I Do” and is the author of a new book entitled “Touch: Pressing against the wounds of a broken world” (Thomas Nelson Publishers) which profiles his interesting life story and his unique brand of faith sharing and radical hospitality.
Rudy and Juanita have been married for 25 years and are the proud parents of two daughters, Morgan and Ryan.
Rudy is author of the book, Touch, Praying Against the Wounds of a Hurting World. This book is available on www.cokesbury.com.