By Gerry Wakeland
The room was overflowing, filled with the excited chatter of supporters and volunteers who came together to dedicate the beautiful new home of The ROCK at NoonDay.
Executive Director, Danny Whatley thanked everyone for coming and introduced former KRQE newscaster, Dick Knipfing who emceed the evening. Board Co-Chairs Jim Roach and Ruthie Horn Robbins recognized the many individuals and businesses that made the new building possible.
Chet Stewart was in Calvin Horn’s Sunday School class when the dream of NoonDay was birthed. Chet shared a little bit of that history with the guests. In 1982, through a great spiritual renewal, God gave Calvin Horn a passion to provide a hot meal and message of hope to the homeless and working poor in downtown Albuquerque. He went to his men’s Sunday School class at AFBC and shared his vision. Not long after, this group of men along with other volunteers from AFBC began preparing and serving lunches in the Fellowship Hall at the church downtown. The first meal was served on Thanksgiving Day in 1982.
A little known fact that Chet shared was how they came up with the name NoonDay. While most people think it was because they were serving lunches the truth is that it was taken from the scripture Isaiah 58:10 which says, “and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” This was the start of the ministry that became known throughout the city as NoonDay.
One of the first people that Calvin Horn approached to serve on the newly established ministry board was Ollie Allred. “Ollie, you could be a big help to us,” he said. Ollie admits that at first he was not much of a proponent of Calvin’s idea. But Calvin persisted and one day after church Ollie went home and gave it some serious consideration. He thought to himself, Jesus would not turn these people away. It was then that he went back to Calvin and agreed to serve on the board and has continued to serve for over twenty-five years.
Throughout the years this thriving ministry has grown and evolved into one of New Mexico’s largest feeding programs. NoonDay has served over 108,000 meals in the past year and anticipates that by the end of 2014 they will have served at least 120,000. In addition to serving meals, they function as a day shelter for the homeless and provide a number of additional resources for those who need help.
Along with growth comes change. Danny Whatley shared some of the changes with me. “NoonDay is now The ROCK at NoonDay. Some have asked why change the name. The answer is, while maintaining our present base of support, we need to introduce and re-introduce this amazing ministry to a new generation of supporters.” However, as the Director, I promise that we will maintain the high level of integrity that has been a hallmark of this ministry since its beginning. Our mission remains the same, to see the homeless and hurting find a relationship with Christ as we meet their physical needs showing them the compassion of Christ, sharing the Word of God and presenting a clear path to a relationship with Christ.”
To be more effective in fulfilling their mission, they have moved into a new building at 2400 Second Street which will allow them to accomplish more than they could at the old facility downtown.
But some things never change. AFBC members are still very active in the ministry of The ROCK at NoonDay. Our own Ed Kolle was instrumental in getting tile laid in the new building. Ollie Allred, Dr. David Robbins and his wife, Ruthie, Jim Roach, and Dr. Phil Uphold serve on the Board of The ROCK. Many of our members fulfill Calvin Horn’s vision by serving meals each day. One Monday a month our seniors stuff the NoonDay mailing. And throughout the year we are faithful to collect much needed items for our less fortunate brothers and sisters and their families.
Reflecting on the evening, Pastor Michael Cook shared these sentiments, “As my eyes swept through the crowd at the NoonDay grand opening, I was gratefully reminded of the immense passion that the Seniors of AFBC demonstrate for missions and ministry. I have never served a congregation that has so many faithful and giving seniors.”
The ROCK at NoonDay is a perfect example of how God gave one man a passion, a dream to make the world a better place and with God’s guidance and the help of many of God’s people this dream continues to be a reality.
. . . being confident of this, the He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 NIV
What dream has God given you and what are you doing about it?
Click here to learn more about The ROCK at NoonDay.