We are an interfaith collaborative. But what does that mean, exactly?
It means we are better together at doing advocacy, shelter and housing to end homelessness. And it means our values are not limited to one faith, one congregation, one way of tackling the issue of homelessness and serving those who experience it.
Our director of congregational partnerships, Rev. Dr. David Everett, recently shared how the creation story in Genesis has a lot to do with our mission to care for people experiencing homelessness and shepherd resources to create safe, affordable housing for others in need.
Most of us know that story of light and dark, land and sea, animals, fish and birds being created one day after another, and how humans are given “dominion” over the rest of creation.
Yet, said Dr. Everett in a recent sermon at Richfield United Methodist Church, the conventional translation and interpretation of that passage ignore that God also meant humans to have a sense of accountability along with ownership in such a way that benefits the whole of creation, animals, land, resources and yes, our fellow humans. Here is a brief excerpt from his sermon:
“It is important to live out one’s life with a meaningful understanding of what we can and are called to do. Some would argue that we are all placed in certain positions to carry out certain responsibilities… and I believe that there is some truth in that because the harsh reality is that no one person or entity can do everything—pastors need lay persons, companies need employees, governments need communities. …Faith in active exercise is what we are called to embody, which is why I love the Frederick Douglass quote, ‘I prayed for twenty years, but nothing happened until I prayed with my legs.’ Let us become willing participants in the unfolding of God’s will.”
We think—we hope!—that way of interacting in our world is evident in our work.
What is now Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative grew from the vision of clergy and leaders at Plymouth Congregational Church, our founding congregation, which organized members to create housing for some of the people in their church neighborhood who suffered from chronic homelessness.
That became Lydia Apartments, our very first supportive housing development – now approaching its 10th year as a place of healing, hope and home for 40 adults committed to sobriety and tending to their mental health as part of their journey out of homelessness.
Today we have 16 housing developments for families and individuals, a shelter program that serves more than 50 families a year, and a growing network of advocates who are actively engaged with their legislators to urge public resources for this important work. We work with 50 congregations and counting.
And we continue to hold ourselves accountable for what we consider the common good, and we hope you’ll be “willing participants” with us until homelessness is no more. Stay connected by using the social media buttons, bottom right, or by signing up for our monthly e-news in the right hand menu. We hope to hear from you!