December Peniel



Journal of An Alien Street Priest

The weather has changed, leaves are falling, and there is a coolness of the Fall and Winter in the air. There have been fires, earthquakes, and war, and much suffering throughout the world. There are thousands on the street. So in all of this what does Advent and Christmas mean?

Advent and Christmas means that God has come into the world in human flesh, and he walks with us and cares for us.  He calls each of us to walk with him and care for one another.

So this year let us move away from social media, let us look people in the eye, and love them inspite opf themselves. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!



Meal will be served at Noon-whenever on Christmas Day!




Sam Portaro writes “To enter Advent we must leave fear for faith.”

Since the early part of October I have ran a fever at night, low grade, chills, and sweating. As the months went along it became worse. My doctor shrugged it off, until the middle of November.  I returned from Amsterdam nearly two weeks ago, frankly overwhelmed with the fever. The past nine days they have ran hundreds of tests on me, some paid for by Kaiser, others from the work I do outside of San Francisco. As I went back and forth to the hospital I would see guys I have known for years, who would get less than a per cent of the care I have received. You see they are not “useful”, where I am “useful,” and where I have been blessed with the ability to raise money and to do work that is apparently is valuable—at least for now. It horrifies me how we place a value on people for what they do, rather than on their humanity.

I have been afraid, still am, and it is in Portaro’s words that “To enter Advent we must leave fear for faith,” and so I move  back into ministry on faith, and fighting fear. It is terrifying for me.  In fact as I have listened to people fear is a prominent part of their lives and that fear results in us lashing out into others who are different from us.

My  best friend  told his mom that the reason he liked having me around was that “He never judges,” and that is the reason I like being around him. In the nearly three years we have known each other, he has never judged me, and that is the greatest gift anyone can give another.  He has never backed away from me, again the greatest gift you can give another.  My buddy has walked with me, pure and simple.  That is the way I try with all of my heart to live my life, “never judging,” for in judging we destroy people.  And I do not back away.

To use Scripture, religious  belief, social media to put forth one’s judgments is destructive, and is a way of covering our own fears. In the last weeks I have let my fear overwhelm me, and I know that I have hurt people, but again all I can do is ask forgiveness and move on. C.S. Lewis tells us: “Forgiving for Christians is a nice concept, until you have to put it into action, and than it becomes nearly  impossible.”  So I expect little, accept from God, because our society never forgives.  I opened my email today and found a death threat from someone because of the young man I work with on death row, for to me he is just a young kid, not the monster as he is portrayed. and it is in loving him as such that the monster will disappear. We need to see the monsters within us, and not  judge others. My monsters are many, and I find in looking them in the face they change into the Risen Christ, and he is the face of love.

And so in the next three weeks and beyond here are some opportunities for you to walk with us in faith:

Christmas Gifts: We are still wrapping Christmas gifts, I am going through my closet to find others, and we have stocking caps to come in. My high school friends have helped me, but now I need someone to spend a day to help me finish this up. I will buy you lunch.  Plan on spending eight hours.


Christmas Day: I will not be cooking meals for several months, until I recover fully, and will focus my time on simply my walking with people; Christmas Day we will have a meal. I plan on serving it from Noon until we are finished which could mean six hours. It is not about the meal, it is about the fellowship. One has no idea how much depression and pain is out there on Christmas Day.  So if you want to help give me a call at 415-305-2124, and we can talk. I need two people. But I want to be very clear, this is about these guys, my energy, my focus, will be totally on them, period.  And I need a couple of people who can focus on carrying the food and gifts until we are done, purely focused on that, entering into the conversations, and putting themselves second. And I will be bluntly honest so just be aware the help is needed, but this time I am not be  trying to introduce people to my ministry or baby them, my expectations is they work. I will not be playing “nice.”

Book Keeping and Taxes: I need someone who can spend a couple of hours a week to help me with book keeping and taxes. As our budget has grown, I have had more difficulty, and right now I am frankly over whelmed, and need someone who is familiar to guide me through this. Not very romantic or exciting, but that is the way 95 per cent of my life is—preparation.



We Are Beggers!

We are beggars and count on your giving! Please give by mailing to:

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

Or through pay pal on






Thank you to all who have given to the foot ball fund of
Terre Linda High School in Matthew Lasky’s name (on the left). Matthew has given to Temenos and been a great friend to me. Thank you!

I have misplaced my I phone. I have another phone but is my private number, and you can email me at this email, or if you want me quickly at Just got my computer back, and looking for phone. Will replace next week if I can not find it.


2 Responses to “December Peniel”

  1. Dr. William Van der velden Says:

    We come to Him as beggars and He welcomes us as children of the King!

  2. Dr. William Van der velden Says:

    Saint Augustine said in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, Liberty; in all things, charity

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