JR Warden Update on Ministry to the Homeless
Being in the inner city gives us opportunities to meet and minister to homeless and wayward souls that we would otherwise have little contact with. These visitors to our church have special needs which cause them to exhibit behavior that is – to say the least – strange, and makes us feel uncomfortable because we don’t know how to respond. Recently, we have had some encounters with the homeless, panhandling and wandering in or around the church building. With this in mind, the clergy and I, along with some members of the vestry, are in the process of developing policies and procedures to guide our ministry to homeless visitors.
It might be quite awhile before we have something definitive. But in the meantime, we humbly request that you follow some basic guidelines that I have put together. Guidelines for Ministering to the Homeless
1. When asked for money or a ride somewhere, please direct them to your Jr. Warden or one of the deacons. We would prefer that you don’t give them money or a ride.
2. Instruct your children and teens NEVER to open the church doors for strangers unless someone in authority is present and gives permission.
3. Women should NEVER seek to minister to homeless men without another man present.
4. Be pleasant, gentle, and polite to them at all times just as you would any other visitor, even when you are referring them to someone else for help.
5. If you feel threatened or pressured to give, report this to the Jr. Warden or one of the deacons immediately.
6. If a homeless visitor seems agitated or angry, never grab them or put your hands on them. Such actions could be misinterpreted.
7. If you are in charge of an event at church, please designate someone to be in charge of watching the doors and security issues.
Once again, more will be said later, but for the time being we would appreciate your support in following the aforementioned guidelines. Also, we ask you to pray for us to have God’s wisdom and heart as we minister to homeless visitors and families in the community/neighborhood around our church. As you know, problems and needs provide some of our greatest opportunities to share the love of Christ.
If you have any questions, please contact me by email. My Junior Warden email address is Jeffbaugham@gmail.com. Also, I can usually be reached by phone in the daytime at 275-7310.
Warmest Regards, Jeff Baugham