Contextual Worship Service
Worship isn’t just admiring God, but it is connecting with God in a way that we personally and culturally understand. Since the chronically homeless have a distinct culture, they need a distinct worship to go along with that culture. Anawim provides that, helping the homeless find a variety of worship experiences that helps them connect with God and have listened to Him. Click here for times and locations.
Three days a week Anawim is open for those who have nowhere in the community to be and we provide a safe haven for them, especially for the homeless and young people who have nowhere to go. We are in partnership with three other congregations within Gresham who also provide day shelters for those with no shelter. Click here for times and location.
The donations we receive all year round are processed, and many of them are stored in our Red Barn warehouse, the only warehouse of donated items for the homeless in East Multnomah County. This warehouse is maintained and supported by those who were formerly homeless, and attune to people’s needs.
In East Multnomah County, there are few places where poor families can get clothes and only one place where the homeless can get clothes. Anawim is central in both providing clothes directly to the needy and giving clothes to ministries who give the clothes directly to those in need. No donation that is given to Anawim is sold. Everything is given to those in need. Click here for locations.
Anawim has provided a meal every Saturday in Gresham since 1997. A few times a month, other churches come in to provide food. We provide some food to be warmed up or cooked at our day shelters 3 days a week. We provide produce and other grocery items for needy families and singles to take with them. And we also provide a facility for the homeless to cook their own food. Click here for times and locations.
We are the only facility in East County that provides showers for the homeless without any requirements. We only have one shower, so some folks have to wait for hours to get their shower, but it is a small price to pay to be clean. Anawim is keeping Multnomah County clean, one shower at a time! Recently, an Anawim supporter, David Rau, made a mobile shower unit, which increased our showers by 200 percent and allows the showers to be brought to other churches! Click here for times and locations.
Pastor Jeff Strong is a master gardener and he planned and created a half acre garden with a greenhouse. We have produce growing all year round, some of which we serve in our meals, and most of which we give away. They provide opportunities for connection between our homeless, the neighborhood, and other volunteers that come from outside.
Yvan Strong has been an accomplished artist since she was 13. She has developed an art studio that is open twice a week for those who do not have the money for art supplies or the space to use them to produce creative works of art. Yvan is there to provide encouragement and to help with ideas using a variety of media. Click here for times and location.
One of the greatest lacks of the homeless is being without an opportunity to work and so to have a sense of accomplishment and community involvement. One of the tasks Anawim has is to maintain the three acre grounds of Sanctuary in Gresham. Every Tuesday the homeless or formerly homeless come and work on the grounds, on the buildings, or at our Community House to keep them in good shape. Some get paid, but most work as a volunteer.
Many churches are looking for an opportunity to help the most needy in East Multnomah County. We provide opportunities for churches to serve the homeless and poor families through serving meals, doing work projects (like painting), or providing special events (like concerts or holiday events) at our facility.
We provide housing for up to ten homeless folks at a time in our community house, in which Pastor Steve and his family also live. Each person in a room is required to work for ten hours a week for their rent, and everyone participates in the community to help meet everyone else’s needs there. We worship and pray and seek to follow Jesus together.
We work with other churches and services in East Multnomah County to serve our community. We network with other day shelters located in three other locations in Gresham, sharing services and information. We work with No One Left Behind, an outreach organization to provide services. We connect with Wallace Medical Concern so that a medical van comes to our facility once a month, and we promote WMC as the only official homeless clinic in East County. We also work with Newton, the Gresham social worker for the homeless. We are constantly looking for other churches and other locations to have food and showers.
There is a cultural gap between the chronic homeless and the “normal” citizen of the United States. Through our website, meals, and other opportunities, we are trying to bridge that gap, so that the homeless are known not just as impoverished, but as a unique culture with a unique spiritual perspective. Part of our goal is to make the homeless less scary to those who do not know them and so increase the network of normal relationships between the poor and those who are not poor, thus providing natural opportunities for both the poor and the non-poor to help each other.
In connection with No One Left Behind and Rose City Backpacks of Hope, Anawim is expanding it’s outreach to provide food, clothing, and other services directly to homeless camps. We have been involved in moving camps during sweeps and establishing organized, safe camps throughout Multnomah County.
Fantastic post! I too was a police ofcfeir and learned these same lessons. Sadly the general public does not understand, nor want to understand these principles. They continue to believe the Hollywood myths about shoot to wound, not to kill, and believe that police ofcfeirs have some sort of magical power that makes them able to think faster, better, smarter in order to make sure bad guys, good guys and innocent citizens are never harmed, scared, hurt or killed in any encounter. Well written and a wonderful post!! You’ve inspired me!