I was talking with a friend and he said the church should let homeless people sleep in it I disagreed because every winter me and my family go feed the homeless we give them sleeping bags food toiletries and warm coats and thermal t shirts and last year we went to a town in Surrey there was an ally full of homeless people they had dogs such as Rottweilers and staffys and there was a strong smell of urine and cannabis and that was the reason I disagreed I wouldn’t want a place of god to turn into a drug addicts den I do believe we should help them feed them clothe them etc but I don’t believe they should sleep in the church what’s everyone’s else’s opinion on this?
Do you think I’m wrong for saying the church shouldn’t open it’s doors for homeless people to sleep?
Where I live there is an organization that coordinates with churches of all denominations to host a group of homeless for a week. When our church has it, we set up our hall (not the church) to support them. They guests are fed, given clothing and toiletries if needed, and are visited by different groups. If they are drunk or otherwise under the influence they are not allowed to participate. It is very rewarding but it is also a lot of work.
Now this is something good for homeless people we don’t work with any groups tho we just go out on our own but id like to do something like that but I don’t think my church does it as there aren’t any homeless people around where I live we have to go into the city
My Parish regularly coordinates with other Churches in the area, and every winter part of the Church is turned into a shelter for a week or so. The Churches rotate facilities. I fully support this and wish we did even more!
If we shelter the homeless we need to follow best practices regarding supervision, hygiene, rules, etc. a church would seem a poor place. Room for cots?
It’s good to be practical. Our Lord is not impulsive, and we are called to do what’s best in a given situation.
IF a person were standing outside the Church freezing to death, yes bring them inside. However in almost all cases there are appropriate shelters to house the homeless.
People frequently use these scenarios to beat Christians over the head. “You have all that expensive artwork and statuary while people are starving” is the accusation.
Well, yea, we have beautiful Churches, AND…we feed more hungry than any other organization in the world.
It’s not either/or, it’s both/and.
If people cannot be spared to guard the Church in the hours outside of mass, then its pure idiocy to suggest that the doors should be left unlocked.
Depending on where you are this will leave you with a desecrated Church before the year is out.
I don’t think anyone is suggesting the church building be left unsupervised. Someone would need to be in charge and available if this is done.
Its hard to have 24 hour watch based on the free participation of individual. And the last thing you want is for two people to try to get a gang of unruly people out of the Church. It can be done, but in my country we’ve had embarrasing cases of people coming into the Church, only to see a punk shooting up heroin and a hooker servicing a client in the confessional.
The diocese had to lock its doors outside of mass ever since enough of those cases had occured.
The idea of an unlocked church is cute. But utterly detached from reality.
It would be a good thing if someone could supervise them but it would be a disaster if they where left unsupervised
My wife’s church (C of E not Catholic) coordinate with local specialist groups like The Whitechapel Centre, to provide support for the homeless and those in temporary accommodation. They are also involved in Micah Liverpool, and provide support to asylum seekers, refugees and those who have been the victims of trafficking even going as far as to make the church a women’s only space at times. The Team Rector has had the primary worship space redesigned to be as multifunctional as possible (within the confines of a 19th century neo-classical church), and in extreme weather will open the doors to provide additional emergency accommodation.
That sounds reasonable.
If the church has the volunteers and the facility to do so, why not?
Homeless individuals shouldn’t be sleeping in the nave at night, but in the undercroft or a former school building or convent that is no longer being used for other purposes- I can’t see why not.
Not every parish will have the facilities for this kind of ministry, and others might not have the volunteers or the local need. But for those who do, it seems worthy enough
I don’t see why not either but what I’m talking about is leaving the church open and unsupervised
It is perfectly okay if they can.
I would agree that would be pretty much ill advised.
Here in Pittsburgh, they do leave some churches open during the daytime and bums do come in. But they lock it up in the evening and the building is always supervised. Absolutely necessary to have other people in building to keep an eye on it. When I worked in downtown in the 1960’s, one of the indigents was busted after he was caught trying to light the altar cloth on fire. The guy was just really mentally slow- but thank God he was stopped.
You might look at working with the organizations in the towns or cities you visit. They are experts, they know how to best stretch every dollar.
This is something for ecumenical dialogue on a local level, which can be coordinated with others in your area.
My parish is a part of an interfaith group of churches who work together to shelter, feed, and cloth as many as possible during the winter months. All of the faith communities split the costs, duties, staffing, security, organizing, and fundraising. They choose a single site where people in need are directed.
It is a very efficient model, and it allows us to have a greater impact and meet the needs of a greater number of people than we would be able to otherwise.
Firstly, Hi (waves) I am in East Sussex but used to live in Surrey. I agree that we shouldn’t actually house homeless people in the church itself if that is what you mean because… of the body of Christ and the dynamics of it. But it does and can depend on the church. Our church is an old Victorian church with high ceilings and is a monster to heat and has one toilet so it would not be easy anyway, also the pews are old heavy wood, too heavy to move, if they do indeed move. Everything in the church is fragile or heavy marble/wood and a hundred plus years old. I don’t think it the best placed for people to be in , plus it is attached to the priests house quite directly and I will say just one more time, man is that place freeeeeeeezing. But we do house homeless people in our parish rooms (which fortunately) heat better and have a separate entrance but are just next door as part of the Brighton churches nightshelter project which runs for 22 weeks over winter. sadly we can’t run it all year but we cover the coldest of the year and it is staffed entirely by volunteers and 14 churches in our city cover the 7 days a week 11 weeks each, pretty much. Both Catholic and other Christian churches. So I think that’s an acceptable compromise as our parish rooms are warmer and have a little kitchen and bathrooms. Oh and we do screen the people using the service for the volunteers safety. It’s just overnight as there are other places in the city for days time, which run all year around.