The Story: How Our Homeless Outreach Began

Budgets.

In 2017, Dr. Matthew Scraper was sitting in his office at Southern Hills. Frustrated over the fact that he didn’t become a minister to sit around and work on budgets, Matthew asked the Holy Spirit for some guidance. The answer came quickly…

“Let’s minister to the Homeless community.”

Knowing that he didn’t know what he didn’t know, Matthew called Rev. Debbie Ingraham, the Director of Skyline Urban Ministry in OKC. Deb connected Matthew to Quail Springs UMC, a church actively involved in homeless ministry in North OKC.

After spending an afternoon driving around North OKC with the homeless outreach volunteers of Quail Springs, Matthew learned about the Ice Angels; a wonderful community of volunteers ministering those experiencing homelessness in South OKC. Matthew would spend the next year volunteering with the Ice Angles, learning how to be in ministry with one of the most marginalized communities in OKC and delivering meals prepared by the volunteers of SHUMC directly into the homeless camps along South OKC’s I-240 corridor.

By 2019, other volunteers had come alongside Matthew, with a vision for a regular homeless outreach operated by Southern Hills UMC. Knowing that more support was needed, Matthew and the Leadership Board at SHUMC hired associate minister Bo Ireland. Under Bo’s leadership, the Homeless Outreach Mobile Ministry (HOMM) was born. By the time that Bo moved on to the Lazarus Community in June of 2021, the HOMM had located to River Park in Stockyards City, and was regularly ministering with over 80 people experiencing homelessness each week.

Today, you’ll find Matthew at River Park every Tuesday, ministering to over 150 people who are experiencing homelessness, alongside over 20 volunteers. The ministry continues to grow as the homeless population in OKC continues to grow, which means that there is a place for you.