Street Pastor with a Past: Rev. Keith Kaufold
The Rev. Keith Kaufold is a pastor in a tough neighborhood where drug dealers and school dropouts abound. Kaufold grew up nearby and can speak firsthand about addiction- and redemption. Kaufold started a church and community outreach called 8th Avenue Place.
(Locator: Homestead, Pennsylvania)
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "Every morning, we have our regulars."
Monica Kaufold: "We get people who are on their way to work."
Coffee shop patron: "Take care everybody! Have a good day."
Monica Kaufold: "We have people who are near homeless."
Coffee shop patron: "My food stamp card came in."
The Rev. Keith Kaufold, Eighth Avenue Place: "We open our doors to anyone, but especially for those in the community who are looking for recovery."
DuWayne Walker, Coffee Shop Regular: "It keeps me balanced."
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "Eight o'clock, the rush is coming."
Delores J. Bragg, Coffee Shop Regular: "I've had a long, rough life. I've raised 6 children and I'm raising 3 grandchildren because of the death of my daughter in 2000. She was killed by a drive-by shooter."
(Kaufold hugs Bragg) "Good to see you, good to see you. How's everything?"
Delores J. Bragg: "I love coming here! And you can just feel the peace here and I get joy here. I can pray here."
(Kaufold to boy on the street) "You go to church today?"
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "Eighth Avenue Place is a newer urban ministry in Homestead, Pennsylvania about a half-mile outside the city limits of Pittsburgh."
Voice of Monica Kaufold, Eighth Avenue Place: "On the streets of Homestead, it can be really crazy. There have been 14-15 shootings. Some of the kids we try to help we know are out there selling drugs."
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "When most people go down an avenue and they see buildings boarded up and they see "For Rent" and they see broken windows, they would say 'We definitely don't want to be here.' I saw those things and said, 'This is where God is calling.' I grew up, up the hill, in an area called Upper Munhall. Probably in early high school began experimenting with drugs and alcohol. My addiction escalated where I found myself a heroin addict in my late teens, early 20's. And, now, I heard a pastor say before, 'God will turn your misery into your ministry.'"
(Kaufold to man at coffee shop) "How much have you lost due to drugs and alcohol? Jobs, houses, everything. So what's left to lose? Your life?"
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "Not only am I in a ministry that works with addiction, but I work and live in a community that is overrun with addiction. So, now, not only am I a resource, but I can tell, for the most part, who is who and what is what."
(Kaufold preaches) "The true test of our faith is not when we're in here, but when we're out there! When the world can see. When the streets can see. When the families can see. How many of , you know, when Jesus can see."
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "Are we a church, are we a community center, are we a mission? And I say yes to all that."
(Kaufold baptizes woman) "I baptize you in the name of the Father&ellipsis;."
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "If we reduce church to being a place where the Word is preached and the sacraments are administered, I think that we are not telling the whole story of who the Church is supposed to be."
(Kids on the street) "Keith!!"
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "We're trying to hit the community on every level possible. We have an after-school time for elementary-aged youth. We have internships for high school-aged youth."
(Group prays at dinner table) "Amen."
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "Every other Monday, my wife cooks for about 7 to 10 youth from the Homestead area."
(Kaufold reads from Bible) "Pay me what you owe me&ellipsis;"
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "And then, after dinner, we go into our basement and we discuss Scripture, we discuss life skills."
(Kaufold to Bible study group) "How many of you come from a single-parent household? Everybody."
Devonte Phenizy, Youth Leadership Program: "It's nice to come here, chill with my friends and learn about God. I got hit by an 18-wheeler. And, after that happened, it's like my life all had been about misery and pain. I also got shot."
(Kaufold to Bible study group) "Someone give us a working definition of resentment&ellipsis;"
Donnell Worthy, Youth Leadership Program: "Before I met Keith, I was kicked out of school&ellipsis;E, possible D student. Now, I have A's, B's, sometimes C's, every now and then."
(Kaufold to Bible study group) "How many of you think that to be true that hurting people hurt people?"
Donnell Worthy, Youth Leadership Program: "Keith has really changed my life. Seriously. My mom tells me every day."
(Kaufold to young man on street): "Alright, brother! &ellipsis;Yeah!!!! Drew city!"
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "I knew Drew was graduating and he said, 'Pastor Keith, I'm tempted to sell drugs to make it.' And I said, 'What are you going to make? Only thing that's going to happen is, you're going to go to jail, you're going to go to an institution or you're going to die. Don't fool yourself.' He says, 'You don't know where I'm at.' I said, 'You're right.' But I said, 'If you put your faith in Jesus and believe He can open doors, it may not happen overnight, but you have to trust.'"
Kaufold talks to Drew: "You still working at Conrad's? Yeah, of course."
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "A good friend of ours who owns a catering company gave him a job and Drew has been there for about a year."
(Monica Kaufold shows clothes to a woman) "You like that one?"
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "God has given my wife and I a very real gift. In that--I don't know if I like the saying "We don't see color"-- is that we see people."
Kaufold to man on street: "Everything's everything, man."
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "Now we may say, 'Oh, we love everybody.' But when's the last time that you sat across from somebody that you know who is addicted to drugs, bad, and said 'I view that person as equal to me?' And if we do, would we invite them in our house? Would we invite them to our families? Would we be seen in the neighborhood with them? To me, that's the ministry of reconciliation."
Kaufold praying with families: Father, we thank you for a good day&ellipsis;"
The Rev. Keith Kaufold: "We do not hide the fact that we are a worshiping Christian congregation. Before, we were just the coffee shop. Now, we are truly a people of God who also have good coffee."
Pastor Keith and his wife Monica were named the 2011 Volunteers of the Year by the Homestead-area Economic Revitalization Corp. The ministry has now started a landscaping company to employ teenagers from Eighth Avenue Place and those transitioning from prison.
Posted: February 17, 2012