Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as I have loved you”. (Matthew 22:39) This is a pretty high bar. As Jesus did, we have opportunities to help some of the marginalized of our society. They are people, all children of God, who do not have a warm place to rest their heads. They include adults, elderly, and children who do not have the security of shelter at night, or the security of a warm meal. Currently, Nativity House needs more volunteers, in the kitchen and day shelter. See me with questions, like “how do I sign up?”.
By the time you see this, I will have participated in the annual Point-in–time count of the unhoused in Pierce County. This count is mandated by the federal HUD for all counties in the US. Next year, I want to put together a team from St Andrews. There is a mandatory training session of three hours. Most of the positions are during the day in places of opportunity to interview our neighbors who are unhoused.
I am part of a team at Associated Ministries (AM) that provides a forum for churches to get together quarterly, together with non-government agencies and Government agencies, to explore ways to help those who are unhoused. A team from St Andrews would be helpful to the congregation and also to people with needs. AM is looking for volunteers to help with many things throughout the year. They are working on rehousing, and helping with taxes for low-income and unhoused people and need volunteers.
The Mission to Seafarers, a Diocesan ministry, is still in need of hats and ditty bags. Hand crafted bags and hats will bring your Love, to these seafarers who are away from home for 10 month stretches. Many are from Asian countries who are not aware of how cold it can get in some foreign ports. The hats are particularly appreciated. There are in-structions, for bags and hats, available in the office and the Narthex.
I have been part of a small team that has written a bill for the state legislature in Olympia that will set up state-wide rules for tent cities, Safe Parking, and emergency shelters. The bills are: HB 1754 and Sb5644. Federal law stipulates that churches have a right to use their property for ministries without undue interference from cities, counties or the state. I encourage you to look up the bills and call your state legislators to support them. Our own Diocese has been involved in at least 2 Federal lawsuits in support of “Chaplains on the Harbor”. This Bill will provide language for churches and municipalities to work from. More shelters are needed. Churches have the space and volunteers to provide shelters. In a large number of cases, churches have been prevented by municipalities from providing emergency shelters, or space for safe parking.
The need is great! Get involved now! I will bring other opportunities to your attention in future Tartans.