After almost three months, we have started some of our spiritual practices again. They look and feel a bit different than before; everything is now outside, and Becky got us these comfortable foldable beach chairs with cup holders which we all enjoy, and we sit six feet apart from each other in a rather large circle. We’ve been setting up our practices outside Christ Church in a little grassy area tucked near the back. Between the traffic on Main street and the masks, it can be a little difficult to hear each other, but it’s so good to be able to gather. The weather has been kind to us recently, and there is something almost indulgent feeling about sitting together in the sun with the sounds of the birds and trucks all around.
On Tuesday we started our leadership group meeting, and I was curious how it would go, particularly because of how difficult the spring had been for folks. I had my own ideas about what we might want to discuss – de-congregating shelters and getting people into hotels, the problematic policing of homelessness, or ways that we chaplains could do more to support our community. But no, there was little support for my ideas. Rather, much to my surprise, folks wanted to talk about two things: building relationships with housed communities and cleaning up the city.
It’s a good sign when the meetings go in directions that I don’t anticipate. The intention of the group itself is to create a space for people experiencing homelessness in Waltham to work towards goals that they deem important. And there is something so compassionate in both of these projects, working to connect with housed neighbors, establish relationships, and take care of the city itself. The group worked fast in our first meeting back outside, figuring out the supplies we’ll need for our clean-up, the streets and paths we want to clean, and thinking about ways to invite housed communities to our meetings or other events. Next week, Sonia from the Waltham Land Trust is coming to meet us to help work out the logistics of our clean-up day, and the group is eager to do our first clean-up as soon as we can.
At the end of the meeting we met two one-day-old goats Becky brought from her home. The baby goats were so cute and vulnerable, and we all enjoyed looking after them for a few minutes and even feeding them a little milk. And, in a small way, being with the goats gave us all another example of how we are at our best when we can live well with and for others.
Thank you all for your support of our community. May any good that comes from this ministry benefit all beings.