Congratulations to Pastor Bob Brooks, Carolina Boyle, Judy McGill, Andrew Wright, and Jeff Meyers at Grace Church for winning this month’s Humanitarian Award. These people help provide a coffee hour and various other functions to homeless and less-fortunate people.
The volunteers serve free coffee from 9 a.m. to noon on weekdays. In the winter, coffee is served from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the church also provides needed warmth on days when the weather is inclement.
The coffee outreach was started by the people of the parish who wanted to open the church to the public. The outreach is now staffed by homeless volunteers who know the clientele the best.
The church wants the people to be respectful of the church, inside and outside, and to keep the property clean. For a while there was friction between the neighborhood and the church. Neighborhood businesses were blaming homeless people for the mess, even though it was actually caused by the buildup of debris when the bars in the neighborhood close down.
Grace Church doesn’t offer only coffee. It hosts A.A. meetings, Young Voices, leadership training, Grace Church Apartments (a HUD program, overseen by the church, with 100 units), and it does maintenance at Grace Cemetery at Trinity Square. The church supports PICA by opening its doors for free meals on Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Wednesday afternoons at 12:30 p.m. In addition, the church also works with high school and college students, doing outreach in the United States and South Africa.
According to Pastor Bob, Grace Church aims to focus on vitality, diversity, and authenticity through all the programs it offers its members and the larger community.
The current economic crisis hasn’t hit the parishioners yet, but the future is uncertain. Due to the difficult times, the church plans on expanding its outreach to serve the community.
Since the problem of homelessness is not solved, the church wants to make the conditions more hospitable for homeless people. The church hopes to be a part of the rotating shelter system next winter.
In order to continue the free coffee outreach, Pastor Bob stressed, “We can’t compromise the integrity of the church; people need to be respectful of the surroundings in order to lessen the tension between the businesses and the church.”
Street Sights congratulates Pastor Bob Brooks and all the volunteers at Grace Church.