It could go without saying that this year’s pandemic has created a number of unique and challenging situations for each of us personally, and for our congregation as a whole. Due to the sheltering-in-place recommendations of the Center for Disease Control, our staff presence at the church’s location has been minimal. We have done our best to work hard and keep the church functioning as effectively as possible. For example, your church staff meets each week via Zoom, as we seek to guide our church toward that time when we can resume worship, work, and ministry together in-person.
My understanding is that due to our location, not to mention the size of our physical facilities, for a number of years homeless people have used the “nooks and crannies” of our buildings as shelter. These last few months, largely due to the absence of staff, they have become a bit more obvious in their presence. That seems to be at the heart of our problem. Our neighbors, as well as those who frequent the business that leases from us across Crestmere, are complaining about a homeless camp at the corner of our Fellowship Hall. In addition, some have taken to sleeping near the entrance of our day school.
The staff and Deacons have discussed this issue. We want to be sensitive to the plight of the homeless and compassionate in our response. However, we will be moving toward a solution that not only says to our neighbors that we are listening to them but also responds kindly to those who have no home. Therefore, we will be seeking to remove these folks from our premises, at least to the effect that their presence is not so obvious to those who live and work near our church.
Our goal is not to provide answers to the larger issue of homelessness, but to respond to our specific one. This will not happen overnight but will be dealt with within the next two or three weeks. Our plan is to talk with these folks, assist them in any way we possibly can with information about those agencies that can assist them, and possibly give them other forms of help as well.
We covet your prayers as we deal with this issue in the spirit of Christ.