A Sanctuary In Time Of Need
302-652-8278 • fax: 302-652-8641
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Description: Participants gather at 6:00 AM at the Friendship House Womenís Center in Wilmington, DE. After prayer and a general orientation by Bill Perkins, each participant is given the anonymous profile of a homeless client and is invited to walk in that personís shoes for one day. . Before leaving the womenís center, each participant will be given the kind of bag or suitcase that a homeless person must use to carry all his or her worldly possessions. Each participant is partnered with a homeless mentor who will be their guide and companion on their pilgrimage to the various shelters, soup kitchens and sanctuaries that make up the daily routine of the street population of Wilmington, DE. A typical street day runs from 6:00 AM to 3:30 PM, when participants re-gather at the Womenís Center for debriefing and prayer. Those who wish are invited to share supper with the residents of Andrewís Place, elderly homeless men who use the Womenís Center location as their emergency night shelter.
Objective: Compassion begins with our capacity to feel the joys and the burdens of another personís life. It requires the humility to believe that I have something to learn, the openness to abandon my presumptions and the imagination to look at the world through anotherís eyes. A street retreat is founded on the belief that Christ lives in every person and reveals Himself each day to those with the patience and the silence to listen for His voice. Its scripture is the Beatitudes and the Parable of Jesus. Its spiritual pathway is the powerlessness of the poor. At the very least, participants get a feel for what is like to be homeless. How much more one gets out of the day depends on the disposition that the person brings to the experience.
Participation: In 2003, twenty-five individuals from five different churches made street retreats ranging from six to twelve hours. In 2004, street retreats are being offered monthly.