March 26, 2014
We didn’t have much time to decide. It was early September and Rev. Duran said the women of WHEEL were looking for winter shelter space-start date: October 1. I’d had requests like this in the past. Could we provide a permanent shelter? Could we provide needed storage? Did we have showers? What about meals? Every other time the answer had to be ‘no.’ We couldn’t meet all the requirements. This time though, there was a chance. Since showers weren’t required and meals were not part of the program, we thought we might be able to help. We met with Michele and other WHEEL representatives. The need was undeniable, their stories authentic and compelling.
We walked the building, checked storage possibilities and found a space that worked. Available hours weren’t perfect, but WHEEL was so flexible and grateful to think this space might be theirs.
The church works in similar fashion to the WHEEL organization. We’re not top down; it’s the people of the church who decide if we can host a group. Those committees meet monthly, so to meet the October 1 deadline, we had to have some fast conversations.
Those fast track conversations were rich and meaningful. WHEEL gave us, as Christians, a chance to deepen our commitment to bring healing to the world. And not just to the world and our neighborhood, but inside the doors of our building. WHEEL allowed us to gift part of our building this winter and we are grateful to them for that opportunity. The experience changed us.
We did not end homelessness this winter. Nor did we end homelessness when we started Plymouth Housing Group which now provides hundreds of housing units. And we didn’t end homelessness for people with mental health issues when we created Plymouth Healing Communities.
This winter we provided space for just a few of the people who live on Seattle streets. We deepened our relationship with WHEEL these past six months. They refreshed us, even transformed us, and because of WHEEL, we have strengthened our commitment to the homelessness issue.
We know WHEEL seeks permanent shelter for the coming year. We stand with them and advocate for them. We hope to continue to be in service with WHEEL; because, as God called us long ago in the Old Testament and calls us even today – we are to: “Seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.”–Wendy Blight, Plymouth Church Business Administrator (Plymouth is pleased to announce we can extend hospitality to the women of WHEEL through April 18!)Subscribe