One of our Orthodox-Catholic Church of America (OCCA) clergy, Father Jim Brigl, has an established ministry to the homeless in the Metro DC area. He gives away bottled water and energy bars; he gives homeless people “space blankets,” those thin, amazing things which are so thin, but which reflect back 90% of body heat; Father Jim also celebrates a simple communion service with homeless people who wish to join him in prayer.
The message below is an excerpt from his recent post on the OCCA clergy listserv:
Please, please remember those on the streets, especially those who are afraid to come in or are so uncontrollable that people will not let them in. A couple feet of cold snow and winds up to 60 mph kill quickly. Driving by darkened and locked churches (while we can still drive) is very sorrowful. Even the outside vestibule adjoining the doors of churches where there actually is a little cover or down the stairs on the side… all fenced off, top to bottom. ‘You are not welcome here’ says that church, and the other, and the other. The church sometimes is inviting someone into your little SUV to warm up and maybe talk into going to a shelter. That’s where the church is these days in so many places.
I’m glad we don’t have massive cathedrals, because for so many, the church aint there. And even tho it aint there, we spend too much of our energy trying to figure out how to fill empty pews and still pay the mortgage. The church ….. it’s with us, in the streets and homes and alleyways. And sometimes we can even gather, break bread and give thanks …. all five of us on the corner. And it is really quite beautiful.
And one more request… after you have thought and prayed about this awful plague of homelessness, please, with respect, do something. Do anything. Contribute bucks. Learn more about homelessness. Join an advocacy group. Volunteer to help a church open its doors. Give blankets, water. Preach. Teach. The Son of Man has no where to lay his head.
I go on too long. Thank’s for bearing with me. Be safe yourselves, sisters and brothers, as you do the Good News day after day simply because you love it.
Blessings wherever you need them,
Fr. Jim Brigl
Philoxenos+ love the stranger