Thursday, April 07, 2016


Monday morning our sexton (that's janitor in church-language) told me that there was a "pretty good camp site going" behind the bushes alongside the building.

Oh goody.

I sat with that information all week, pondering what, if anything, to do.

On the one hand, homelessness in this town is a huge problem.  The Gospel Rescue Mission is always full.  It's also problematic in that they tend to make life difficult for people looking for shelter.  It has other issues as well, but I'll leave it at that.  The only other short-term shelter option is a warming center that is only open one night a week; and with the weather getting warmer, I don't know how long they plan on staying open.  People unwilling, unable, or not allowed, to sleep at the shelter find other places . . . various parks, city lawns, or nooks and crannies around town.  The camp that was set up on our property is well-hidden, so the people are protected from thievery and other attacks.  It provides soft ground, so they aren't sleeping on concrete.  And, because of the size of the bushes, it probably provides a decent, if not perfect, shelter from wind and rain.  In that respect, I'm glad there's a place for them.

On the other hand, there are at least a few issues I need to consider:
First, they never did ask for permission to set up camp on our grounds.
Second, safety.  We have parishioners who care for our grounds.  What might happen if they stumble upon the campers?  Are my parishioners safe?
Third, health.  I don't sleep through the night.  Where are the campers taking care of business, and are they reliably cleaning up the area?

I called the public safety department this morning and asked them to come take care of the site.  The officer who showed up told me that, because of how it's set up, it's classified as a "camp site" and he needs to post a 24-hour eviction notice.  I can live with that.  When the campers come back tonight, they will at least have the opportunity to remain in possession of their sleeping bags and food items.

"When did we see you homeless and not offer shelter?"

The place between the gospel and the real world can be a bitch sometimes.


Lady Anne | 4:51 PM, April 07, 2016  

Do you remember several years ago when I wrote on my blog about a homeless man who walked into St. Peter's church and shot both the Rector and her assistant? We are told to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and yet we have to keep our church doors locked for our own safety.

You're right. The space between the Gospel and the real world is a real bitch.

Reverend Ref + | 5:24 PM, April 07, 2016  

Yes, I remember that incident. Which is exactly why the issue of safety comes quickly to mind.

spookyrach | 10:26 PM, April 17, 2016  

That's got to be tough to deal with. Hope you find a safe path through that bitchy space.

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