• Church@thePark

COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER - May 19

10 THINGS WORTH HIGHLIGHTING THIS WEEK . . .


1.

MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS CREATE ART

FOR MICRO-SHELTER RESIDENTS


Art Student
Jada Graf, 12, stands beside her artwork on May 4. Graf said she had the word "human" in mind when creating her artwork, which shows a heart with a black background. (Ardeshir Tabrizian / Salem Reporter)

From the Salem Reporter, “Howard Street Charter School has encouraged students to think critically about what it means to be human and empathize with people who are suffering. Students spent each Wednesday since January 19 creating artwork to hang inside micro shelters in Salem that help people transition out of homelessness.”


“The project, titled “Making a House a Home,” was intended to help students understand the impact of a welcoming home on a person’s sense of belonging, said Robert Salberg, a theater arts teacher who came up with the idea.”


“The art will be on display at the Salem Art Association Bush Barn Art Center until June 5, when it will be donated to Church at the Park, a nonprofit organization contracted with the city to operate micro shelter villages in Salem.”

Art Show
John Marshall (C@P) speaking at the exhibit. (Krystal De Ramos / Church at the Park)
 

2.

VILLAGE OF HOPE FEATURED IN THE NEWS


In the story, one guest said, “I came from a camp at Wallace Park and had been there for a couple of weeks. It’s been hard, but then coming [to Village of Hope], it’s a change. Very relaxing, actually.”


 

3.

HUMANITY OF HOMELESSNESS STORYTELLING EVENT - June 2nd


The event will feature stories from people with lived experience of homelessness along with music by local artist Rich McCloud (video below). Light refreshments will be provided. Only 150 seats are available - please RSVP below.

 

4.

C@P on Local Radio


John Marshall, C@P Pastor & Safe Parking Manager, and Sterling Cunio, C@P Storyteller & Spiritual Care, were featured on local community radio channel KMUZ, on the “Willamette Wake-Up” show, to talk about the upcoming storytelling event. Click below to listen to the 19-minute interview.

 

5.

HUMANITY OF HOMELESSNESS


Meet Michael.


Micheal used to volunteer his time to help pick up food from Marion Polk Food Share twice a week on the days we would pass out food boxes. Micheal has a generous heart when it comes to helping out others.


"I want you to pray for the people I left behind who died for our country in other countries. I cannot ask for prayer for me. I need to find peace with God for the things I have done and the situations I was in. I want to encourage others to pray a blessing over those they see on the streets that God would help them."



 

6.

PARTNER HIGHLIGHT : WOMEN AT THE WELL GRACE HOUSE



Grace House is a faith-based transitional housing resource in Salem for adult women without dependents who are experiencing homelessness. We spoke with their Administrator of Growth Strategies, Grace Maiden, about the program.

Grace House was established 7 years ago in 2015 after a group of community members decided that Salem needed a resource like Grace House to exist. Since that time. Grace House has case-managed over 230 women. With an average of 20 women finding permanent housing a year!

Grace House is unique because it is one of the few resources in Salem that only serves single women. In addition, their self-sufficiency based case management program is unique. The program on average lasts 6-9 months. It equips and supports women to achieve goals and break the cycle of homelessness. There are several ways to support Grace House. Donating is probably the biggest Sharing with the community about Grace House is also a great way to help people that are experiencing homelessness know that this program exists.

 

7.

INVITATIONS

  • We are in need of MEAL PARTNERS TO SPONSOR OR MAKE MEALS for our sites. Churches, businesses, groups, or individuals can work with our team to select a meal, dessert, or other food items for one of our sites. Let us know if you are interested or if you have questions.

  • MEN’S CLOTHING NEEDED. We need all types of men’s clothing, especially size 30-38 jeans, sweatshirts, boots, and rain gear. Drop off at the CCS site (3749 Portland Rd NE, all the way in the back). If you have questions about donations, use the button below to email Maria, our manager in charge of donations.


  • WEEKLY TOUR - Join us on Thursdays at 1:30PM for a tour of our Micro-Shelter Community at our CCS site. This is a great way to connect with our leaders, meet some of our wonderful staff, and see how our sites operate. Let us know if you have questions or want to schedule a tour. Individual or group tours are available.

  • SHUTTLE TOUR FOR ALL SITES - Interested in taking a tour of all of our sites while having a conversation with DJ, C@P founder? We are doing tours from Noon to 2:00PM on the last Wednesday of the month. We have a bus with comfy seats for 12. Bring your own lunch.

 

8.

TURNER ROAD PROJECT IS 50% FUNDED


We are trying to reach a goal of matching a $100,000 grant to make necessary upgrades and renovations for the Turner Road property. The deadline is June 30th. To date, we have raised $50,000. Please consider making a donation to help us meet our goal of making our Turner Road site a safe and efficient space.

 

9.

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING FUN TO DO THIS SUMMER?

 

10.

LECTIONARY REFLECTION

This week’s reading is the story of the healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, John 5. Jesus intentionally walks through a forgotten place, a place on the margins, and he encounters a man who has been unwell for 38 years.

Jesus asks him the question, “Do you want to get well?”


As a community, C@P reads the lectionary text to open many of our weekly meetings. We read the text, discuss it, and pray through it as a way to re-center ourselves. Many staff members will hear the passage at least 2-3 times each week.

As we have sat with this text and discussed it this week, some staff have pointed out that it feels like there are some parallels between the pool of Bethesda and the encampments that are present in our communities. The pool of Bethesda was in Jerusalem, but it was in an out-of-the-way, hidden part of the town (thus John’s long description about where to find it). While we’ve seen encampments become more public in recent years, the majority of encampments tend to remain in the more remote and hidden parts of our community. The pool is a place for the sick, the lame, the infirm, and invalid to gather with the hope of being healed, or, at the very least, a place to be with other people. The pool would stir at random times—possibly from an angel dipping its wings into the water, or possibly due to the pool being connected to a spring—and, the story goes, whichever person was able to get in the pool first after the water stirred would be healed. For many in our community, housing, jobs, and health are just as out of reach as healing was for the man at the pool. The promise of a more stable life feels like it is contingent upon the whims of some angelic, or magical force, no less fickle and impersonal than the “winds of fortune.” “Do you want to get well?” Jesus honors the man by inviting him to speak out what he wants. But of course the man’s answer is a resounding “Yes!” He just needs some help. Jesus seems to be unconcerned about the cause of the man’s unhealth, or whether he is deserving of healing. Jesus sees the man as a person, created in the image of God, in need of healing and restoration. And he heals him. No assessments of his worthiness, no strings attached, just an invitation to experience healing and grace. At C@P, we are trying to be a place of healing. A place where people can be seen and have their basic needs of shelter, safety, food, and connection met. Our services are low-barrier, meaning that we don’t try to figure out who is more or less deserving of our services, and we don’t place heavy burdens on people so that they feel like they must earn our services.

We believe that when Jesus tells us to pray “Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven,” he is inviting us to work so that the places where people are discarded and forgotten are eliminated. Places like the pool of Bethesda and encampments.

 
Untitled

a poem by James Baldwin


Lord,

when you send the rain,

think about it, please,

a little?

Do

not get carried away

by the sound of falling water,

the marvelous light

on the falling water.

I

am beneath that water.

It falls with great force

and the light

Blinds

me to the light.

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