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Church Allows Homeless to Sleep Overnight, Gives Them Blankets

One of the greatest commandments and a central belief in the Christian faith is to love your neighbor as yourself. And it is not simply those people with whom you are closely acquainted that needs to be loved but it includes everyone, may they be your enemies, friends, family, or the strangers that you pass by on the street.

Such a high standard is nothing to scoff at or to take lightly as if one can easily do a feat as loving those who have hurt or scorned you. However, when people start taking this command seriously and practicing what they preach, it helps change the world by one small action at a time. As one of the passages in the Bible says, “Faith without works is dead.” Simply put, if you don’t put your faith into action, what use is it?

Seeing the alarming rates of homeless people in the city of San Francisco, the St. Boniface church decided to invite and accommodate those without a roof over their heads or nomads, wondering around the streets without a place to call their own for whatever reason, and bringing them in the church so that they may sleep there for a night as they give out blankets.

We don’t usually know exactly how to help out homeless people because there is this expression or belief that states, “Teach a man how to fish.” Surely, it would be in anyone’s heart to welcome a complete stranger as a guest into their home but a lot would be hesitant due to safety concerns and even the fact that they may not have enough to give to help out. So many would probably opt to donate some change or clothes or even work in a soup kitchen to provide food for those without shelter.

On the other hand, churches have that capacity with regard to space in their parishes, sanctuaries, and other places of worship which they probably don’t fully use all week long and thus they can share these spaces to the homeless. This was the start of the Gubbio Project, an idea hatched between Father Louis Vitale of St. Boniface, and a community activist Shelly Roder in 2004.

The Gubbio Project’s website reads, “No questions are asked when our guests walk into the churches; in an effort to remove all barriers to entry, there are no sign-in sheets or intake forms. No one is ever turned away; all are welcomed, respected and treated with dignity.”

Truly, an act akin to the good Samaritan who not only helped a dying man on the road by giving him water and medical aid but also brought him to an inn located in a nearby town and paid for his stay there. The church is still being used by its parishioners and other churchgoers who want to visit at any point in the day, but two-thirds of the area would be allotted for homeless people.

Though it is definitely a great thing that the church is doing, one might begin to think why not simply go to a homeless shelter and spend the night there instead of making use of church space? Given how many people actually don’t have a home to go to at night, one would have to assume that it would be very difficult to house hundreds maybe even thousands of people in a small, crowded space. In fact, some have even described these homeless shelters as feeling like prisons and they felt that it would be extremely dangerous to stay in them.

Now, with the Gubbio Project, these concerns about safety are addressed because the church would be taking care of the people. Being one of the mandates, they definitely wouldn’t heartlessly leave these people out on their own. They even went beyond just letting them stay to giving them warm blankets to sleep in.

Having said all this, we have to think about the bigger picture and what it means to society. There have been reports that efforts and initiatives are being launched in order to restrain and eventually, apprehend homeless people making encampments in various areas around cities. People are even being arrested for feeding the homeless. The rationale behind these arrests was for the prevention of diseases, according to authorities however, activists have a different opinion. They say this was a means of criminalizing the homeless.

Whatever the case may be, the church has definitely done a good job at easing the suffering that these homeless people receive from the law and from society at large.
Church Allows Homeless to Sleep Overnight, Gives Them Blankets Church Allows Homeless to Sleep Overnight, Gives Them Blankets Reviewed by Exuperist on November 12, 2018 Rating: 5

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