Kinloch: The City Love Built
Kinloch was a once a thriving middle class African American city in the 1950s and 1960s that unfortunately became collateral damage from the St. Louis airport expansion in the 1980s. Residents were forced by the government to sell their homes due to sound ordinances and other related issues. Kinloch has continued to shrink over the last 30 years and now is being used as a literal, illegal garbage dump by many. There are less than 300 people still living inside the city limits and the streets are overrun with heaps of trash, overgrown foliage, and littered with bullet casings.
Photos taken during various prayer walks in 2022. (Photos by Tami Flick.)
The photo of the hand shows the bullet casings picked up during one walk.
It can be overwhelming for those that once called Kinloch their home to drive the streets and see their beloved hometown as a wasteland.
But that’s not the end of the story - our God had a plan!
Holy Spirit began to move on the hearts of intercessors and pastors for this little city. What man had forgotten, God saw (El Roi, Genesis 16). He began to whisper His promises and purposes for this community to those who would listen. Kurt Wilson and his team from Pray for the Lou (in partnership with Civil Righteousness) created a 21 day devotional called Tears for the St. Louis. Day 20 of the devotional focused on Kinloch’s honorable history and present day troubles. Each day, Kurt would broadcast a live devotional via Facebook from the plot of land that corresponded to whichever historical injustice was that day’s focus. On one windy March day in 2022, Kurt streamed live from Kinloch with Thelma Bryant, a powerful woman of God who had grown up in Kinloch. Later that evening, the Lord spoke a powerful word to Kurt for Kinloch. Kurt shared that, "During the evening time of prayer I felt in my spirit that Kinloch would be different in 6 months but had no idea what that would mean. It was so strong that out of obedience I prayed and declared that Kinloch would be different in 6 months. It was a massive step of faith to pray this!" He didn't know how God would fulfill this word, but He knew that God's spotlight was upon this city.
Kurt shared that, "During the evening time of prayer I felt in my spirit that Kinloch would be different in 6 months but had no idea what that would mean. It was so strong that out of obedience I prayed and declared that Kinloch would be different in 6 months. It was a massive step of faith to pray this!"
Here’s where the story gets interesting…
That anointed 20 minute video with Kurt and Thelma captured the attention of the National Day of Prayer organization and Thelma was asked to lead a NDOP gathering at Kinloch’s city hall. The very day that Thelma called Kinloch’s office and left a message about wanting to host a NDOP gathering there, the brand new city clerk, a young woman filled with fire and vision, had been crying out to the Lord for help. She knew that God wanted to restore Kinloch, but she felt alone and overwhelmed in the process. It was that same week that Thelma literally walked into her office. Since their initial serendipitous meeting, Thelma and Ms. Robinson have been praying together every Tuesday morning for Kinloch to be restored.
Since May, the Lord has begun releasing grant money to the City of Kinloch for its restoration. As an example of God’s sovereignty, Ms. Robinson received the news about one grant on the very day a significant prayer walk occurred! In summary, Kinloch will receive two grants totaling over $2,000,000 over the next year for rehabilitation for housing and a local park.
The Prophetic Promise
During a time of prayer this summer, the Lord spoke to Pastor Jonathan Thomas, the founder and president of Civil Righteousness, the word that “Kinloch would be known as the city love built.” He felt encouraged that God was declaring a powerful message of hope over this forgotten city.
Just a few days after hearing this word, JT was stunned to discover that the new city clerk of Kinloch is a woman by the name of Love Robinson. God was proclaiming that it would take love to rebuild Kinloch and it would take Love Robinson, the ultimate “double entendre!” Love (the woman) is truly one of those “oaks of righteousness” as described in in Isaiah 61:3 - 4:
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
From Top Left to Right: The Yom Kippur tent; Love being prayed over during Yom Kippur;
Bottom Left to Right: The Kinloch Family Walk of Fame; The very moment JT shares with Love Robinson the prophetic word about “Kinloch will be known as the city love built.” (Photos by Tami Flick & Jonathan Thomas)
The faithful, strategic prayers of believers from around St. Louis, especially through ministries such as Pray for the Lou, Perpetual Prayer Vigil, the Ferguson Prayer Furnace, and Titus Women, not to mention Ms. Love’s own daily intercession and passion for restoration, God has been moving on this city’s behalf. In fact, the City of Kinloch just reacquired two deeds of two large plots of land. One is a dilapidated 7-acre apartment complex. The second is what used to be Kinloch’s senior and junior high schools. With these properties back in Kinloch’s ownership, the City of Kinloch, with Ms. Love at the forefront of redevelopment, can begin the process of rehab and restoration.
When exactly did that happen?
On Oct. 4, the day Yom Kippur began (the Day of Atonement, when the blood of the lamb covered the sins of the Israelites, thereby making their “slates” clean). The signing of the deed occurred during the 24 hour period when Return Ministries, Altar of Prayer, and the Ferguson Prayer Furnace pitched Civil Righteousness’ mobile prayer & worship tent on the lot across the street from one of the deeded lands. In fact, those gathered in the tent prayed over Love Robinson and Kinloch’s restoration that very evening, in agreement with believers who were streaming in online from around the globe. On the holiest of days, God moved upon St. Louis County to sign over the deeds back to Kinloch. Incredible! Our God is into the details!
Although this story is about Love Robinson and Kinloch, it’s about so much more. I believe that this story is a flashing sign, pointing people to Jesus and the prophetic potency of our “Yes!”
Are we willing to slow down enough to hear God whisper His promises and purposes for discarded people and desolate cities? Are we willing to carry His presence into the places that our world has forgotten? If we are, we will begin to live an existence emboldened by the truth proclaimed by Jesus, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26
Our King makes ALL things new.
Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the Lord Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion. Isaiah 8:18