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  • Writer's pictureChurch@thePark


This is Dave - 64 years-old, born in Salem. He was also raised here, graduated high school and worked in the cannery, as a landscaper and a wide array of other local jobs. Dave likes to draw and play guitar. He and his wife of five years, Cristine, moved into a van after they couldn’t afford a rent increase, and when the van was towed they became homeless—along with their dog, Destiny.

“She was my everything,” Dave says of his wife Christine, who passed away this past Christmas eve while laying on a frozen Salem sidewalk. “I don’t know what I would have done, if I didn’t have people around me,” he says when speaking about friends he’s found at Church at the Park’s Village of Hope. “There’s people that care here,” he says, reminding us how valuable community is to individual healing. And as we at Church at the Park get to walk along side Dave as people who care, we are also reminded of how valuable the individual is to community healing.



The State of Oregon recently released some troubling data about the numbers of deaths of unsheltered people in Oregon through November of 2022.

455 unsheltered people, 38 of them in Marion & Polk County, died in that time. You can see the data charts below for more info.

At C@P, we recently held a memorial service for 3 people who were connected to our community. Below is a prayer from that service.

God of Mercy, as we mourn the deaths of Judith, Christine, and Eric, and thank you for their lives, would you tend to our grief-stricken hearts? We pause in this moment to give space for our grief, our pain, our anger, our apathy, our anxiety; We mourn those that we have lost, and for the ways that their deaths have diminished us. You are a God who sits with the broken. You weep with those who weep. You mourn with those who mourn. You do not hide yourself from our anger. In this space, we long for hope, we long for a world where there is shelter for all, where the pathways to healing and redemption are open for all, where violence is met with a peace that passes all understanding. Even in this moment, we long to taste and see Your goodness. And so, God, we ask that You may grant us peace. That in our pain we may find presence, That in our confusion we may find comfort, That in our anger, we are open to peace, That in our sorrow, we may find hope. Gracious Spirit, change us, transform the margins. Turn barren and desolate deserts of despair into an oasis of hope. Turn impassable vast seas of sorrow into waters of life. Merciful Christ, sit with us in our grief. Hold the forgotten ones, help us remember. Have mercy on us. Amen.



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