This is a time of transitions, both for Grace-Street Ministry and for the way homeless services are delivered in Portland.
In our small ministry, co-founder Pastor Mair Honan has retired, and I’ve been hired as the new Executive Director. Thankfully, Pastor Mair remains connected to the ministry as Pastor Emerita, and she is readily available with her wisdom and advice. At the end of January, our second-longest serving street minister, Pastor Bob, will also be retiring (read his farewell blog post in January). As Bob moves away, we will be bringing on another pastor, Pastor Jessica Moore, and so we will continue to be at full strength on the street.
Things on the street are in flux as well. There is ongoing controversy about where a new homeless shelter might be sited, as the outdated Oxford Street overnight shelter is long overdue for replacement and the pressure to develop this last bit of the Portland peninsula has become too strong to resist. It is our hope that the homeless will not be isolated far from downtown. In spite of its obvious difficulties, the community is vibrant and often wonderfully generous and supportive. I fear that isolating them on the outskirts might very well damage their sense of their own community, but more importantly their connection to the larger Portland community. So much has already been taken from them. I hope their sense of being a part of the world is not the next loss.
And all this is happening as winter is upon us, and the day shelter has cut their hours significantly, causing the usual anxiety about the cold and dark to ramp up exponentially. It’s at this time of year, particularly under circumstances such as these, that the co-pastors of Grace-Street are the most needed. We bring love, we bring light, we bring comfort and we do our level best to channel the divine and walk with them into the sorrow and the fear.
It’s a blessing and a privilege to be able to do this work.
Pastor Jeff Logan