Monday, November 17, 2014

It is up to each of us…

I wanted to share with you how St. Paul’s has helped meet an urgent need for sleeping bags at the Episcopal Church Center (ECC) in Ocean Beach, and also keep us thinking about a longer term plea that was brought to us by Sr. Karla Maria Moritz-Holland, a member of our community and a nun at The Little Monastery of the Way.

Sr. Karla's plea last week for a home-cooked meal and sleeping bags for a group of homeless young people at ECC caught us by surprise. Several of you who learned about this immediately sprang forward with offers of home-cooked food.

The sleeping bag request was more immediate. Our Outreach+Mission team promptly responded with 11 sleeping bags (see picture). Karla was able to take delivery of the sleeping bags the same day.

Below Sr. Karla  Maria describes the needs  of these homeless young adults who are receiving free music lessons every Sunday afternoon at ECC. 

I would like to share with you my experience at the program last Sunday. Jeffrey Sitcov [organizer of the music lessons at ECC], when making announcements before supper, told the youth that if anyone needed a sleeping bag, they should write their name on a small piece of paper and put it in his hat. There were 20 people there, young women and men, and it appeared that at least half of them put their name in the hat. There was ONE sleeping bag. One person received a sleeping bag. The others received nothing; there were no more sleeping bags and no blankets.

Some of the young people who hoped to get the sleeping bag did not even have a jacket, just short-sleeved shirts. And at 6 p.m. we all said good-bye, hugs were exchanged, and I watched them walk into that particularly cold night, knowing that they had no shelter, no bed, no blanket, and no clothing to keep them warm.

We locked up that large room at the ECC. That room was empty for the night, and those young people were on the street. I returned to the Little Monastery of the Way and spent the night thinking about those young people, praying and holding them in my heart, unable to sleep. They, on the street without even a jacket. Me, in my bed with my winter blanket.

Sleeping bags are needed, warm jackets, hoodies, hats, gloves, scarves are needed. Can't we find donated sleeping bags and jackets for them? Shelter is needed. Couldn't we find room in area churches for these young people, with supervision, to sleep?

What we are doing as a society with these young people is unconscionable. I hope to help gather support, and I see my role as a support gatherer, finding leadership to take this on, and supporting and participating in any way I can. I am not the person called to administrate the support, but there will be someone called to this.

Thank you for reading this long email .

Thank you again.

In Christ's Love,

Sister Karla Maria

Dear people of our St. Paul’s community, let your hearts and hands be moved to see Jesus in these young lives and in the heart of Sr. Karla Maria. Sr. Karla is especially interested in donated home cooked meals on an occasional Sunday night and peanut butter sandwich sack lunches, donations of cold weather clothing, and toiletries. She would also value the gift of leadership to more completely address this need.   Please contact Sr Karla Maria at the email address above.

Paula Peeling

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