November 10, 2014
So now the weather turns! the nights and days are first cooler then colder and all too soon there will be snow and ice. Some, indeed many, of our people, are caught a little off guard in late October. Just weeks before sneakers and cotton clothes sufficed. Now, "pastor Mair, pastor Bob, pastor Jeff," whichever one of us is walking Congress street or at the Resource Center or in one of the Shelters, "I need boots please, size ... And do you have a coat 2xl?" THANKS to our many many partner churches (you know who you are), we may often say, "Yes, I'll have this for you , here at the shelter, between 2 and 3." And we pass out dozens and dozens and dozens of pairs of socks each week, new clean warm socks, thanks to our partners. Meantime, a baby is born to a street couple, a blessing and a challenge to them both (just consider) and we are soon in the help-with-diapers and booties business. Wonderful, and challenging. And then a young woman's uncle dies unexpectedly from the results of an accident just 24 hour earlier, and she is alone. "Would a prayer help, a ride?" Yes, and so we pray together, and there are tears and tears, and thanks, and then she leaves for the hospital. And then it is and before the Soup kitchen opens at we once more gather at Oxford and Preble street for a short Service and Communion with ten, fifteen, twenty of our people, and we are the church again, the street church, together. Thank you Lord that we may give and receive in these ways as the days get shorter and the weather turns colder. Protect we pray these our people. All praise to Thee, Amen
October 08, 2014
The leaves are changing, there’s a chill in the air, the angle of the light is lower and the squirrels move with greater urgency as the season shifts. On the street, there is a slight but pervasive sense of foreboding as the needs morph from t-shirts and sneakers to boots, winter coats and sleeping bags, straining our modest resources even further.
As the new kid on the block, I have a steep learning curve – particularly in the face of a mountain of need with a molehill of resources.
But in spite of all that, there are small miracles every day – the pair of shoes that perfectly fit a woman sitting with swollen, blistered feet and crutches up against a chain link fence along Congress Street, or the man in the wheelchair, his body worn out from a lifetime of working, praying his disability claim goes through this time , but in the same breath telling me that if he could do one thing in his life right now, it would be to take away the Parkinson’s tremors from a woman he knows at church and carry them in his own body.
It’s truly a blessing to be able to do this work.
September 02, 2014
They were repaving the streets near the shelters as we (pastors with GSM) were walking along on the sidewalk. Ahead of us, we heard a young woman cry out, cursing and crying. She was wearing flip flops and it seemed that she had gotten tar on her feet. Bending down, touching her feet, she then had gotten tar on her hands.
The straw that broke the camel's back- she went hysterical, crying out that she couldn't take any more, that she wanted to die. “I just want out.” she cried.
As a street minister I had had some interaction with her over the years. It felt right to go up to her and take her hand, I massaged the tarry spots briefly telling her it would all wash off eventually. She stopped yelling, said, “Thank you, pastor,” and then she moved along.
A few seconds later, I felt something sticky on me and looking down I was surprised to find tar all over my hand.
Can we get into the mess of it all without getting tar on us?
People can always use a Dunking Donut card ($5.)to get a break from the street.
Thank you for any help you can give.
July 24, 2014
July, and June before it, was plenty busy at Grace-Street Ministry. With the warmer and now hotter weather, there are more requests now for tents, tarps, sleeping bags, shampoo, and soap, as people understandably head outdoors. Boots and sneakers and socks are in constant demand in every season. We regularly support transportation needs, e.g. a ten-ride city bus pass to a man or woman who has just landed a job or who has a need to visit with family or children. Inside the Preble Resource center it is a relief to everyone that it is finally summer! The 11:30 Service of prayer and communion each Sunday has been well attended so far this summer, bringing 20-30 to the circle most Sundays, often approaching half of whom new. By the end of the month, the Ministry will say goodbye to pastor Elizabeth Peterson, who leaves after four years of service, first as intern and then as pastor in order to devote more time to the Kindness initiative she launched at her home church in Westbrook, Maine. She will be sorely missed. At Amistad Day shelter, the Tuesday morning discussion and prayer meeting continues to attract three to five participants most times and to be deeply meaning to all, regulars and first-timers alike. For pastor Mair, the Ministry’s founder, and pastor Bob, new since last December, the Ministry in its many, many settings (including the Preble Street Resource center, Oxford Street shelter, Florence House, Logan Place, and Amistad) and sides (in which “presence, prayer, and advocacy” is shared) continues to be a great and humbling blessing of work. We give thanks every day too for the Ministry’s home church, Williston-Immanuel United in Portland, and for the commitment there of pastor Deborah to ministry to Portland’s homeless and marginalized. Amen.
May 07, 2014
I met her on the sidewalk. She was leaning heavily on her walker. "Pastor, I need prayer" she said. So we put our heads together, both leaning on God and asked for courage and faith. We both were trying to remember the bottom line-that we are not alone ,we are loved.
It would be wonderful if you could look around for new or used back pacs, in good shape, for those who are in need. Thank you all for your continued support and prayers of our ministry on the streets.
April 10, 2014
It is finally looking like spring may truly be here. During the winter, our focus is on getting boots/coats/hats and gloves for those on the street. We are now looking for assistance for sneakers, socks, and DD cards. Recently we have helped someone with a one night stay at a motel so she could get some much needed rest. We have also given out art supplies to an artist who is without a home for the moment. We sometimes pass out chocolate to bring a little brightness to the day and each and every time we are on the street we pray.