|Open for Business|
For those unfamiliar with the Showers of Blessings Ministry, it’s a ministry of our diocese, whereby the diocese loans its two-unit, mobile shower trailer to any parish wishing to offer showers to homeless neighbors. At the Cathedral, this is a no-brainer. We don’t have to ask, “Who is my neighbor?” We clearly see our neighbor every day, immediately across the street in the park, sleeping on the lawn (dowsed by sprinklers most mornings), lugging all of his earthly possessions in a small, wheeled suitcase (if lucky) or in a battery of plastic grocery bags (if not), trying his best to keep clean in the dirty restroom sinks that the park has to offer, every day feeling more and more cast out by the rest of society. This is no exaggeration. Those of us who do regular outreach within the park hear in their voices and see in their eyes how rare it is for these beloved children of God to feel embraced or even acknowledged by their housed neighbors. We’ve found that there is immense dignity to be offered in just acknowledging their presence or their right to try to eke out an existence as best they can. And offering a chance to shower! That’s huge in the life of someone who so rarely has the chance to feel clean. Fortunately, we now have showers to offer!
|Veletia Kennedy, Kristen Hill Maher, |
John Townsend, and Kim Sorrell
By the time our guests arrived, we had prepared a simple welcome, with one volunteer having supplied donuts and coffee, while others placed chairs around the courtyard, so people had a place to rest without having to sit constantly on the hard ground… the beginning of dignity and the beginning of feeling welcomed within the Cathedral family.
|Coffee and fellowship with Kris Summit, |
Mary Doak, Randy, Kim Sorrell
We know how we’re supposed to treat the “least among us.” On this, the gospels are quite clear. If you’re like me, though, sometimes putting that into practice, determining what precisely we might do, how do we even interact with our homeless neighbors, is what becomes difficult. The Showers of Blessings makes this very easy. We all came with open hearts, ready to provide very simple hospitality to those in need. As often happens, though, this was turned on its head, as we all came away feeling blessed many times over as though we, and not our guests, were the true recipients of the gift of love.
It was a beautiful and Christ-filled morning at the Cathedral Saturday. The next chance to serve will be Saturday, May 9th. We’ll be hosting Showers of Blessings on the second Saturday of every month. If you’d like to participate in this ministry, even if you’re currently somewhat apprehensive, feel free to contact me at email@example.com, or I’d be happy to discuss it after 10:30 worship on any Sunday. Click here to see more pictures on the flickr site.