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Still Struggling 2: “Learning to live side-by-side”

September 23, 2010

In anticipation of the Outreach Committee meeting this Sunday after church to discuss the Cathedral Chapter’s recent vote to stop allowing homeless people to sleep on our front porch, one member of the committee just wrote the following email to all the members of the committee (and gave me permission to publish it here):

I think we can all say that “There but for the grace of God, go I.”  Maybe a
positive, healing step on our journey in learning to live side-by-side with
our down and out neighbors is to have a meeting “with” them so that they
become/see us and we become/see them.  Invite them inside, share some
community and food and have a sit down.  Perhaps a gathering at 5 or 6 pm one
evening when they begin to collect for the evening instead of after church
when they have dispersed.

I totally get that the issues we have as responsible property owners and as
duty-bearers to safeguard (all) people in the evenings can be contra to
being neighborly with folks who want to sleep on our steps.  I feel strongly
that we should discuss openly the issues together (not just us versus them).
Maybe that is Pollyanna-ish, but I think that is what Jesus would do.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Betsy Adams permalink
    September 23, 2010 7:54 pm

    Reading this I feel sad and ashamed. I really don’t understand what St. Peters is all about…. building a pretty place that “nice” people can come to once a week?

    By many reports the St. Petersburg police are particularly nasty to the downtown homeless population. Now we become a part of that.

  2. Matt permalink
    September 23, 2010 8:51 pm

    “Do you want to honor Christ’s body? Then do not scorn him in his nakedness, nor honor him here in the church with silken garments while neglecting him outside where he is cold and naked. For he who said: This is my body, and made it so by his words, also said: “You saw me hungry and did not feed me, and inasmuch as you did not do it for one of these, the least of my brothers, you did not do it for me.” (Mat 25:34ff) What we do here in the church requires a pure heart, not special garments; what we do outside requires great dedication.”


  1. Still Struggling, part 3 « Cathedral Crossings
  2. Still Struggling, pt 4 « Cathedral Crossings

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