by Amy Malick
The group working on phase two of our response to homelessness has a new name. Canterbury Activate is off and running! We are “people seeking God’s Kingdom together through education, action and reflection on issues of justice and social concern."
Last week our group began what we envision as a 6-12 month period of experiential learning around the issue of homelessness to inform our plans for action. Of course, we’ll continue existing outreach, such as Sundays at St. Martin’s and the Peanut Butter and Jelly ministry to provide PB&J to The Storehouse. We’ll also try new action ideas as they emerge through our learning.
At our meeting Aug. 14, we heard several speakers:
Guest Bea Casaus, a member of the Women’s Circle of Empowerment, told her story and answered questions about her experience of homelessness.
Pat Masterman and Emily Wirth reported on their city bus trip up and down Central Avenue to observe how people experiencing homeless and poverty access transportation.
Bill Miller and Sharon Frey-Prewitt from St. Andrew Presbyterian Church told us about the struggles at St. Andrew to balance safety and welcome with the people experiencing homelessness who stay in the neighborhood. We agreed to collaborate with St. Andrew and other churches on a training around basics of communication and assistance with people who need homes. Tentative dates are in October.
As we talked, we collected a number of action possibilities, including more bus riding, forming teams to support newly housed people, advocacy on quality of life issues such as the need for bathrooms in public parks, providing sanctuary at Canterbury with a quiet place to pray, sit or talk, and much more.
We’ll keep track of ideas that bubble up during our learning experiences, and anticipate a wealth of possibilities for Canterbury to contribute to meeting the needs of people on the street while we work with our community to end homelessness.
Meetings will be 6-7 p.m. the second Tuesdays. The next meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 13.
All are welcome to join the core group of 11 working toward an action plan on homelessness. (Plans are afoot for a second “sister” gathering, Canterbury Contemplate, which will meet every Tuesday from 7-8 PM beginning in October. More on that later… )