For those in Need...
July 13, 2017, 10:12 AM

From the Rector  (July 13, 2017)

This Tuesday morning, being the second Tuesday of the month, I went to the monthly Clearinghouse meeting for organizations that participate in the joint efforts (and supporting churches).   We get reports on successes and opportunities for people in need.  So now I know, for example, that in June, the House of Hope provided food for 377 families (including 36 first-time recipients) with a total of 1,293 family members.  I learned that people are eligible for “summer cooling assistance” through OVO.  Roughly 100 veterans attended the June 15 “stand down” event at the American Legion, to learn about program options that can help them if they need assistance.

I also heard that there is a widespread rejection of adding another tool to the toolbox used here for treating drug addiction.  If you’ve been reading the paper, you probably know what I’m talking about.  There are two major, not necessarily related but you never know, objections: first, that the proposed program Groups Recover Together, because it uses medical treatment and actual drugs, is not a good way to solve addiction; and second, that it shouldn’t be downtown.

This is what I know:  Sub-oxone is used successfully in other countries and in other states to treat drug addiction.  It works by blocking the cell receptors that give a “high” – without giving a high.  GRT monitors the dosage, counts the doses at every weekly visit, requires weekly group therapy, and offers individual therapy.  GRT has met with judges, with police, with the jail staff and with Community Corrections, all of whom welcome an additional avenue to dealing with this plague.  I also know that both Centerstone and Lifespring have 6-week waiting lists – so if someone wants help today, they have to survive another 45 days to get it.

On the second point, that it shouldn’t be downtown: the Mayor agrees with that.  But the thing is, we have drug addicts downtown!  We also have drug “factories” downtown – one was recently found on east Main Street, less than a block from the sheriff’s office.  Where better to offer counter- measures? 

Demographic studies confirm that the percentage of the population that is poor – and therefore can be helped by programs offered through the Clearinghouse by multiple agencies – is higher downtown than in other parts of the county.  If you live here, you know that’s so.  People in need surround us.  People in need, sometimes, are us. 

I meet people every week who have come to their last penny and found it too small.  People who work shift work, but not when the factory has no orders; people who are sick or injured through no fault of their own; people who are struggling for any number of reasons.  Do they always make the best choices?  No.  But does God love them?  YES.

Jesus told us the poor would always be with us – but that’s not an excuse to dismiss them – it’s an opportunity for us to help them, to show that we value the abandoned more than ourselves.  That’s deeply counter-cultural.  We can’t fix everyone’s life for them; they certainly have to do their part as well – it’s just that our part should not include dismissal, condemnation, and judgment. 

So, how can we help?  By learning about those around us, by advocating for program funding to help people finish their educations or get certified in a skill, by donating to Jane’s Kids and the Summer Meals Program, speaking up for equality and justice, signing up with the local elementary schools for tutoring programs … most important, let’s get educated, get involved, and get going!

I know many of you do these things and more – thank you so much!  I know it’s sometimes hard to see that we make a difference, but we can do it!

Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless, the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy.  Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.        (BCP 826))