January 18, 2017

January 2017 Blog post

January 2017 Blog post
Winter’s tough at Preble street. Often just teens above zero days, zero or below nights. Many still choose the outdoors. Most take to the shelters. Days, there is the Resource center and the Soup kitchen, and the Resource center Courtyard. Inside the Resource center, it can (on a sunny cold day for example) be sparsely populated and very quiet. Folks may sit four or five to a long table or interspersed around the room’s perimeter in chairs. A few at the counter confer with a case worker on duty. Or it can (on a grey cold day for example) be chock-a-block, with nearly every seat at each long table taken, every chair along the perimeter occupied, and even the floor spaces taken, and a constant stream of people leaving for or entering from the Courtyard by the double doors. These latter days, the sullen cold outside can seem either to unify folks against adversity or to divide them by testiness and altercation.
Winter’s tough at Preble street. Yet through it all, at least two case workers wo/man the Resource center desk and phone. This is where needs are expressed, now quietly, now stridently, and where needs are met, housing needs for example. Homeless people have strikes against them, sometimes many strikes, when it comes to the housing which can stabilize a life or lives. And so, when after a long time, measured in months or years, one of our folks, aided by a diligent case worker, finds a residence, it is really, really, really something to celebrate. And that’s how it was one recent Tuesday when I greeted Julio—a quiet thirty something Central American man who’d fled the violence in his home country and then, for the three years I’ve known him, hung on to the hope for housing. “I have an apartment now!” he answered me in Spanish, “in the high rise.” We both burst into smiles, and then shook hands warmly. At last, I said. At last, he said. “May I still have a t-shirt?” he winked. Long-suffering was not the word for it because that had now passed. Jubilant was the word for it.
Winter’s tough at Preble street. But Grace-Street ministry stuck by Julio over the years, week in week out. And finally, by one case worker’s hard work and a landlord’s wisdom, Julio finally was housed. My goodness. Amen

January 05, 2017

December 2016 Blog Post

As the newest member of the team, I’m seeing this amazing community of people with fresh, wide-open eyes.  There are harsh realities that can be overwhelming if you don’t see all the beauty that is there, even if it’s sometimes hidden by drugs, alcohol, mental illness, bad decisions, and plain bad luck.  On the streets I’m seeing unimaginable pain and unexpected compassion; debilitating addiction and inspiring recovery; desolate isolation and resilient community; fear inducing uncertainty and awe inspiring hope.
There is far more complexity and richness among this community than I ever expected.  Yet within all this, a pair of socks and a willing ear are valuable commodities.  It seems like so little to offer, but the responses we experience tell a different story.  Your support, in all its forms, allows for a ministry that fills a small yet important niche for the marginalized of our community.
Peace and blessings in this season of Advent and in the coming New Year.

Pastor Dave

December 08, 2016

This Sunday

Rev. Mair Honan, director/pastor of Grace - Street Ministry, will be preaching  with the UU Congregation in Damariscottta at 10:30 on Sunday the 11th.

November 07, 2016

November 2016 Update

As a street pastor I seem to talk a lot about the edge of compassion, you know that place where you lose your caring spirit, judgement fills your mind and your heart shrivels up. It happens to all of us. Our judgement/fear creates distance and walls us off from the Truth-that we are brothers and sisters all -One with Creation.
We may not agree on theology, or like each others behavior, or politics or choices in life, but the Truth is what we are interested in knowing on the streets and in the shelters in our ministry. Next time the wall between myself and another grows may I remember to ask Jesus to show up and reveal the Truth. If you do this be prepared to be shocked.

September 26, 2016

September 2016 Update

Sometimes out on the street it’s hard to see the little glimmers of hope shining through the cracks of the suffering. It’s easy to see the people either comatose or crazy from smoking spice, it’s impossible not to share the pain of loss when yet another member of the community dies from overdose, and it’s difficult to miss the morning self-medicating that allows people to get through another day. Sometimes you have to squint a bit to see the silver lining.

Thankfully, there are other days when hope gets all in your face like a puddle splash from a passing dumptruck on a busy street. This gaudy, audacious kind of hope surfaced last month when the young people at the Eastpoint Church summer bible camp had a contest to see who could bring in the most socks for the homeless (with the winning group deciding the color their youth pastor would dye his goatee).

Not only did the kids donate 1,000 pairs of socks to Grace-Street, but their now green-bearded pastor told me stories of kids driving through Portland, pointing out the window and saying “I bet that guy has a nice pair of socks. I’m so glad we could help him. It must be hard to be homeless”. Or perhaps the most touching was the story of young girl who had lost a tooth and informed her parents that “now that I’ll have some money from the tooth fairy, I can buy more socks for homeless people”.

Like I said, the miracles are sometimes subtle. And sometimes there as loud as a brass band, as bright as a shooting star and as full of hope as a new dawn.

Heartfelt thanks to all who help.