Recap: Thank you for meeting with People United to Stop Homelessness (PUSH). We are looking to secure commitments from as many churches in St. Johns Co. as possible. Below are questions as to whether your church falls into a primary or secondary role. Digest our meeting, talk to your members and report to PUSH in what capacity you feel you could serve. Once we have enough commitments in both positions then we will meet to discuss specifics (how many homeless to accept, what categories of homeless to accept, etc.) and establish a calendar. After these initial questions, we’ve listed examples of the program we discussed. Flexibility is our strong point as we can tailor what other communities have done to meet our group’s abilities and size. To report your commitment along with any questions or concerns, please contact: Sumner Gray at 824-8526 or Thank you! Will your congregation be Primary or Secondary? If designated a primary facility, the church will be asked to physically house the homeless. This would be a 10 day housing arrangement before rotation to the next church. Remember, by signing up to house homeless families you are not required to provide all the social services (that is where the secondary facilities come in). How often could your church provide housing? Every ____ 3 months ____ 6 months ____ 9 months If designated a secondary facility, the church will be asked to assist the church housing the homeless. The secondary facility is just as important as a primary facility. They agree to assist the homeless by cooking meals, providing child care, providing transportation to work, job training, counseling, securing primary church, etc. If your congregation is very small then you could potentially pair up with another church when taking on the role of secondary facility. In line with the primary housing rotation, secondary facilities sign up to provide support for 10 days. How often do you feel your congregation could commit to 10 days of support? Every ____ 2 mo. ____ 3 mo. ____ 4 mo. ____ 5 mo. ____ 6 mo. ____ 9mo. ____ 12 mo. One further preliminary question you may want to ask your congregation is if they feel comfortable working with any of the following: Elderly, children, single parent families, mentally ill, war veterans, single males, persons with addictions, etc. Just get an idea who you are comfortable assisting and what specific skills your members have will save us time at future planning meetings. On the back side of this sheet are two examples of programs similar to what we are trying to establish here in our St. Johns County community. “It is increasingly difficult to separate the values of capitalism from the values of the kingdom. Stewardship has become confused with insurance coverage, with certificates of deposit, and protective coverings for our stained glass. It is an offering, a tithe dropped into a plate to be used on ourselves and our buildings. Somewhere on the way to becoming rich we picked up the idea that preserving our property is preferable to expending it for the people. Why should it be so difficult to decide which is wiser: to open the church for the homeless to rest or to install an electronic alarm system to preserve its beauty?” - Robert D. Lupton said in his book Theirs is the Kingdom - Organization provides a seven step process to establish a strong interfaith church network. Hands-on training, step-by-step help available. Here is an example of a group in our state…
Family Promise of Sarasota opened on June 25th, becoming our fifth affiliate in the Sunshine State. Despite being one of Florida’s wealthiest communities, the need in this Gulf Coast community is acute. Sarasota’s gaps analysis shows 103 unsheltered homeless family members. Local shelters report turning many families away, and the Salvation Army cannot accept intact ones unwilling to be split up—who make up about 10% of those they have to turn away. There’s a severe shortage in affordable housing in Sarasota, illustrated by its difficulty in recruiting teachers and police officers. The network opened with a diverse group of 9 hosts and several more likely to join soon. Support congregations range from a Missionary Baptist church to a Lubavitcher Chabad House to community churches. The day center is in a house downtown, near services and transportation. Family Promise of Sarasota raised funds to open through grants from the Sarasota Community Foundation, contributions from local congregations and the generosity of individuals—including one who paid for the van. Lisa Hagerman serves as Network Director, and brings a marketing and administrative background, history of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and deep ties to the community. The network plans to hire a case manager later this summer.

Volunteers work hard to finish setting up the rooms for their guests' first night stay.

Pine Shores Presbyterian Church, hosted the first family, a grandmother with a toddler grandson. A single father with a seven-year-old daughter entered the network the next night. The first evening saw shared joy, love and wonderful food.

Jesus Said “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he had anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” - Luke 4 “He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord" - Proverbs 19:17

Finding Shelter Under Stained Glass
From Nov. to March more than 200 men, women, and children line up outside the doors of Nashville‟s Room in the Inn headquarters hoping to find a warm bed, hot meal and to defrost feelings of disillusionment. Though most nights are spent camped out under bridges and underpasses, many of Nashville‟s homeless are adopted as guests by one of 28 local United Methodist congregations who have offered up an empty Sunday school classroom or unused church gymnasium as a makeshift hotel room. Room in the Inn is an interfaith/ecumenical ministry supported by the Campus for Human Development and more than 150 local congregations. For seven nights a week – including holidays – congregations, par and privileged, find room in their church inn to offer the homeless shelter under the protection of stained glass. Though most stories written about Room in the Inn are testaments to miracles worked on behalf of the addicted, mentally ill, or victims of hard luck, anyone who has provided a ride, prepared a hot meal or donated an article of warm clothing will tell you it‟s the givers, more than the receivers, that are blessed. Steve Glover, along with his wife Sandie, coordinates the Room in the Inn ministry for Donelson Height‟s United Methodist Church. Steve echoes the thoughts of many others involved with the ministry, “I feel truly blessed by this and privileged to be a part of it. We had a lady and her husband who had just arrived in Nashville. Right after they got here, her husband was mugged and beaten-up. Their money was taken and they literally had nowhere to turn. When we picked her up from Room in the Inn and brought her to our church, she just broke down and said, „You don‟t know how much we appreciate this.‟ And my response to her was, „No, you don‟t know how much I appreciate that we‟re able to do this for you.‟” Culbertson calls Room in the Inn a “hands-on experience” that has changed how church members see ministry – from ministering to, to ministering with. “It‟s one thing to write your check, and this congregation has always been faithful in doing that,” he says, “but it‟s another thing to take „homeless‟ out of the quotation marks and to sit at a table, hold hands, break bread and say a prayer together.”

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