Location: Soulkitchen at More Than A Roof for a City in Focus “Talks with Tom”
Date: Friday, 13 June, 2014
Volunteers and tenants of More Than A Roof made breakfast and Tom Cooper invited Father Matthew Johnson from Street Outreach Initiative and me to talk about our different perspectives of ministering on the street – in Downtown Eastside, Vancouver, and Whalley, Surrey, respectively. Both our ministries are situated in the midst of brokenness as we walk alongside people struggling for survival on the streets, and although our approaches might be quite different, we share a compassion to serve “the least of these” in our two different cities.
Father Matthew is an introverted man with a personality polar to my extroverted one, but we are both called to step into introversion and extroversion roles depending on the daily demands of our ministries. Structurally, Father Matthew is calling people into the infrastructure of the Anglican Church, from the streets and surrounding community. At NightShift we are calling people out of the church – the structure, the building – to serve, do church and build relationships on the streets.
We both realized that despite being nervous about serving people on the street early in our ministry, we each quickly realized that we have so much in common with people marginalized and dealing with poverty, mental illness, addiction and homelessness – the pain. When the pain is too overwhelming to carry by our own power and might, we each go to our knees and spend quiet time with our Father to refresh and be filled up. We both wholeheartedly agreed that it is a miracle how God can redeem the brokenness from our lives to bring healing and wholeness to others.
As Judy Graves summed it up, we all need unconditional love and prayer and meditation is listening.