Peniel–November, 2019

Jesus the Homeless

 

PENIEL

NOVEMBER, 2019

NEWSLETTER OF TEMENOS CATHOLIC WORKER

TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF SERVICE

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

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Journal of An Alien Street Priest

 

All Soul’s Day, All Saint’s Day and Thanksgiving were holidays of reflection, and days that were simply a part of my life, many years ago. And then in the afternoon of one Christ the King Sunday my District Superintendent informed me that since was I in doubt about my sexuality, and had left “reparative therapy,”  I was no longer welcome as a pastor in my denomination and was abruptly removed.

 

I found myself on the streets, and ultimately in Hollywood, living in Motel 6, which was not the “nice” place it is today, lonely, angry, and afraid, earning money by being a whore.

 

Thanksgiving dawned that year, and I was invited to Thanksgiving Dinner at one of the churches, and reluctantly, being terribly hungry and lonely for decent food and companionship I attended.

 

Entering the dining hall, one was surrounded by the misfits of society–whores, transgenders, gay, straight, bi, questioning, homeless, old, young, black, white, brown, mentally ill,drug  addicts,  all with no place to go. In those hours I found myself loved for the first time in months, and it was the beginning of my being born again.

 

Gradually I felt surrounded by the Great Cloud of Witnesses we remember on All Saint’s Day, and God’s face smiled upon me.

 

As Dorothy Day once said, “Little by little”, so “little by little” a change of mind, a change of heart, a change of life, and a move into a living relationship with Jesus. My life was transformed, ever so slowly, and continues in transformation today.

 

Thanksgiving became a day of love, acceptance, and conversion. Our first Thanksgiving in San Francisco was simple, I took twenty five young men out to eat pizza, but in this  simple meal we found, love, care and friendship and the presence of Jesus.

 

Every  Thanksgiving since has been one of simply sharing food, giving love on the streets, and  it  is more than that, it is being a real friend. 

 

Each All Saint’s Day we are reminded of the friends who have gone before us, living and present, who continue to surround and love us, and of our obligation to be a friend, not a “service provider” to each human being we meet, and to all of creation.

 

On this Thanksgiving we will feed a couple hundred people, and we will feed them as their friend, meeting them where they are, and loving them for who they are. Fr. Henri Nouwen sums up what true friendship really means:

.
“True friendships are lasting because true love is eternal. A friendship in which heart speaks to heart is a gift from God, and no gift that comes from God is temporary or occasional. All that comes from God participates in God’s eternal life. Love between people, when given by God, is stronger than death. In this sense, true friendships continue beyond the boundary of death. When you have loved deeply that love can grow even stronger after the death of the person you love. This is the core message of Jesus.

 

When Jesus died, the disciples’ friendship with him did not diminish. On the contrary, it grew. This is what the sending of the Spirit was all about. The Spirit of Jesus made Jesus’ friendship with his disciples everlasting, stronger, and more intimate than before his death. That is what Paul experienced when he said, “It is no longer I, but Christ living in me” (Galatians 2:20).

 

You have to trust that every true friendship has no end, that a communion of saints exists among all those, living and dead, who have truly loved God and one another. You know from experience how real this is. Those you have loved deeply and who have died live on in you, not just as memories but as real presences.

 

Dare to love and be a real friend. The love you give and receive is a reality that will lead you closer and closer to God as well as to those whom God has given you to love.”

And in closing I invite you to take the words of the Reverend Audrey MisKelley and meditate on them during this season of thanksgiving. People often ask, “How do you keep on going with all the pain you see?” Audrey says it better than any one else:

 

“As I have aged what I realize is that my life and my outlook have gravitated toward a single concept: hope.

It is my hope in a greater good that keeps me from despair. It is my hope in a God who loves me that keeps me facing the day with joy.

If I had only one word to offer in this confusing world where anger seems to prevail, it would simply be hope.

Hope is what grounds me and helps me sort through a world that often just makes me angry.

Hope is what gets me up every morning to embrace another one of God’s beautiful days.

Hope is what encourages me to not just survive through my days but to live in them with courage and with energy and with compassion.

Hope is what keeps a smile in my heart even when it feels like it has every “right” or reason to be breaking.

In this world of confusion, what keeps you grounded?

Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

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Thanksgiving Homecoming

Thanksgiving is a time in which people on the street, on low-income, living in shelters face depression, for around them are the advertisements of “happy families”.  It is a time when people who have no family, or have family who are away, facing being alone amd feelings of  despair sets in.

Each Thanksgiving Temenos and St. Luke’s Episcopal

Church host a meal at 1:00 p.m. for those who have no where to go, or will be alone–1755 Clay Street, and in the evening we serve a meal for St. Boniface Shelter, 150 people,  6:00 p.m. Friday we will celebrate Thanksgiving on Haight Street.

This year we have plenty of volunteers to serve our evening  meal. All food has to be prepared under our supervision and in the same location so we can not take donations in food. But we may take monetary donations, which would  be most welcome.

 

You may send donations for food to our address, or to St.Luke’s Episcopal Church %Fr. River Sims at 1755 Clay Street. You will receive a tax deduction from either one of us. Please make all donations either to Temenos Catholic Worker or St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

The menu for this year:

Turkey and Chicken Stuffing

Vegan Turkey with dressing

Green Bean Casserole

Southern Potato Salad

Dessert

Those who come to the afternoon brunch may bring a vegetable dish.

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Christmas Gift Wrapping

We have nearly four hundred Christmas gifts to wrap this year. And would like to invite any one would like to have some fun  to join us on the following days at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1755 Clay Street, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

December 2

December 9

December 16

Refreshments will be provided.

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We Are Beggars!

We are beggars! We beg for your support to provide 1200 pairs of socks, food, pastoral care,  and  Sacramental ministry upon request, and harm reduction to those on the street, primarily youth–but to all.

You may send donations to:

Temenos Catholic Worker

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

or pay pal on

www.temenos.org

All donations are tax deductible,but must be made out to Temenos Catholic Worker.

We send notifications of the yearly sum of donations the second week in January upon  request.

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