Two hundred college students from around the San Francisco Bay Area are moving to the Tenderloin District this weekend. They’re participating in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s first Jesus, Justice & Poverty conference, which is focused not only on confronting homelessness and poverty, but also exploring how evangelical churches, so often, have failed the poor. The conference is being directed by InterVarsity Global Projects Director Scott Bessenecker and InterVarsity East Bay Team Leader Jess Delegencia
Students are being given the choice of staying in residential hotels, a YMCA, a Baptist church that serves the homeless, or sleeping on the streets with the homeless. The conference will be based at St. Boniface Catholic Church, 133 Golden Gate Ave., and students will be working with organizations that serve the Tenderloin District’s homeless population. The speaker for the conference is Father Ben Beltran, a Filipino priest who lives and works in the garbage communities of Manila. Some student attendees participate in InterVarsity’s fellowship groups on Bay Area college campuses, some specifically do not identify with Christianity.
“This conference has a two-pronged purpose,” says Bessenecker. “We want to see non-Christian students who are already passionate about justice issues discover the Jesus who walks among the poor. And we want to see Christian students who are ignorant or naïve about justice issues discover that Jesus is passionate about confronting evil and bringing deliverance to the oppressed.”
For more information, go online to http://www.jesusjusticepoverty.org/index.cfm or call Scott Bessenecker’s cell phone at 608.213.4823.