Posted on : Friday February 16, 2018

Bill Bock is first Arundel House of Hope Winter Relief Site Coordinator to have experienced personal homelessness

Bill Bock

Bill Bock, a member of North Glen Community Church in Glen Burnie, is usually upbeat, with a big smile, but he’s a bit frazzled on an early October Sunday morning, bustling around the church fellowship area, making sure coffee is ready, cleaning up some trash, setting up chairs and preparing breakfast. Bock, known affectionately as “B-Bock,” is preparing light refreshments for 30 special guests—men who are experiencing homelessness. They’re sleeping upstairs in the church.

“Be quiet when you go up there,” he gently calls to someone heading up towards the steps. “They want to sleep in.”

Bock sympathizes with the men, but he also empathizes. He, too, once roamed the streets seeking shelter. By the grace of God, he now has a home.

Early in the year, Bock approached Paul Bachman, pastor of North Glen Community Church about hosting the men for a week of Winter Relief. Now as overseer of the ministry, Bock was the first person who had experienced homelessness to be an Arundel House of Hope (AHOH) Winter Relief Site Coordinator for a church.

He recently took a brief respite to talk to BaptistLIFE about his past, his coming to faith, and his service to those who are where he once was. He puts his head down, “It’s kind of hard to talk about my past because I lost my sisters, my wife, and my mother and father. They all passed away at a young age.”

He shares that he grew up in an abusive home. Though he loved his parents, and they tried their best, his parents didn’t know Jesus. They lived the 60s in a classic one-percenter biker type lifestyle trying to get by with drugs, alcohol and violence. When he was a young man he landed in jail after an attempt to avenge his sister’s rape and when he got out, he hit the streets, living hard.

His life began to change when a police officer took him to the Arundel House of Hope (AHOP), that provides support to the poor and especially those without shelter. AHOH’s Winter Relief program in Anne Arundel County involves over 60 churches that provide overnight housing and dinners for a week at a time from October to April. Bock signed up for the program and began his nightly church visits. The Holy Spirit began to stir in his heart and he began to experience miracles.

“I was on the street, cold, dirty, no clean clothes and no place to sleep and feeling miserable. I was walking in the rain and I saw a coffee cup on the ground. I thought I’d take the cup to the McDonald’s and tell them I spilled it and see if they’d give me some. As I was walking there, I saw a dollar bill on the ground,” he said. Bock believes that was Jesus trying to get his attention, telling him that he didn’t need to be deceitful, but to trust Him. Bock continued to see God show up in different ways, providing his needs, time after time.

“I went to about 50 to 60 churches every year and I started thinking, ‘I want to be a Christian.’”

Bock, seeing the different church traditions, found that being a Christian didn’t mean being a particular denomination. “He (Jesus) didn’t say, ‘Hey I’m a Catholic,’ or ‘I’m a Baptist,’ or ‘I’m a Methodist.’ Bock doesn’t either. He’s a simple Christ follower.

Bock is active at NGCC, playing guitar in the praise band, and lending a hand wherever he is needed. He also serves with Heaven’s Saints Motorcycle Ministry, with AHOP and with Glen Burnie’s Emmaus Center, a day center that offers meals and a variety of training and support as well as Bible study for people who are homeless.

“People say to me sometimes, ‘You don’t act like a Christian. You don’t talk scripture [like a preacher]!’’” Bock said. “’Well, you can teach a parrot to talk scripture.’ I told them, ‘God ain’t looking for actors. He’s looking at your heart.’”