Tag Archives: homelessness

Sara Miles’ radical conversion to a radical faith

Sara Miles’ conversion to Christianity not only opened her eyes to Christ, but opened the eyes of now fellow Christians

Sara Miles never expected to convert to a religion and worship a God she didn’t believe existed.  Strange as it may sound, but that’s conversion. Former atheist editor of Mother Jones magazine, Miles found herself mysteriously drawn to a mysterious God.

In an interview with David Ian Miller, Miles detailed her conversion beginning with receiving communion at an Episcopal Church. One day Miles spied St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, attended a liturgy, and took communion.

Miles’ meditated on what she had received, what appeared as simple bread and wine, and how this sacred banquet was a reception of faith. And what’s equally interesting is the way Miles’ — a lesbian — challenges ‘traditional’ ideas about faith and identity in the midst of the schism in the Episcopal Church over the status of same-sex relationships.

Read more

The Great Toaster Lesson

How a prayer circle, and a kitchen fire, led to a powerful Aha! Moment

BY SUEANN JACKSON-LAND — Every other Saturday morning my friend Kim picks me up to join the Elgin Street Mission Breakfast Club, a group comprised of  women who serve food at a local soup kitchen. Our captain is Debbie, an energetic woman I like to describe via her shoes: Keds sneakers colored with Sharpies into left and right rainbows.

Kim, I met at church. She is one of those people who keeps her Christian faith private, although her spirit is always at work. That she didn’t try to coerce me into a volunteer effort made me want to do it all the more.

This past Saturday, only my second time participating, I immediately went to my cereal pouring job because that’s what I knew how to do. I was pouring when our toaster lady, Barb, asked me if I thought the industrial-sized block of hard yellow stuff was butter or margarine?

Read more

The top 20 things I’ve learned working in a homeless shelter


I wrote this after my first day of work at a homeless shelter in Hamilton, ON, a steel-plant city in Canada. It’s an overwhelming job that provides endless opportunities for me to learn about myself, and others.

Our society has a hierarchy, and its currency is called expertise and knowledge. Homeless people are at the bottom of the pyramid because we believe they display neither of those qualities. It’s nonsensical, from a spiritual perspective. These individuals have deeper experiences than many of us who have conformed. Why? Maybe they’ve peered so deeply into the abyss, that it opened them up, humbled them up — or totally transformed them. Here’s what they’ve taught me:

Read more

Prayer Wall: ‘Is my brother alive or dead? Is he in jail, or OK?

To this petition and appeal by Debby Dernberger of Menlo Park, CA, we add our prayers:

“I am in search of a long lost relative, my brother. His name is Michael Jay Dernberger and he was a vagrant and homeless alcoholic living on skid row in Washington State. It is tragic what happened to him, and he is not the only one. I just want to find my brother.

“Is he alive or dead? Is he in jail, or is he OK? No one has heard from him since 1990. By posting this, it would help get the word out.”

Read more