First you pray for the poor. Then feed them. That is how prayer works.
We at Church of the Resurrection recognize that the purpose of Christian community is to yearn for God and answer the cry of the poor. Visit us in 2021 on Saturday night or Sunday morning to see how yearning for God in worship together can look. It is beautiful: you feel held by God and the community. Your whole being can be refreshed from a very deep well. All are welcome to join us at God’s table.
The purpose of Christian community is also to answer the cry of the poor. We can be poor in so many ways. Our minds, spirits, bodies, communities, and ecosystems can be, and so often are, subject to poverty. Jesus taught us that God is always on the side of the poor, the destitute, the powerless. God is always on the losing side because the true power of God is found in vulnerability and brokenness, not in power and strength. That is the lesson of the Cross. Victory, salvation come not in vanquishing some enemy or triumphing over someone or something. Rather, salvation comes in living, in surviving, in not being overcome by the structural sin and injustice of the world. Salvation also comes in helping others survive, overcome, even thrive in the face of the suffering that will catch up to all of us in the end. Salvation is knowing that suffering and death happen but that that is not the end of the story in this world or in whatever is to come. That is what Jesus Christ promises. That is why we try very hard to answer the cry of the poor right here in Eugene.
As a parish we have discerned that the most pressing problem to work together on is serving our neighbors who live in destitute poverty. Here in Eugene, 1% of our neighbors are so poor that they do not have a place to live on any given night. Over 13,070 households were homeless for at least one night in 2018. The shame of those numbers should be unbearable to us who live in the wealthiest economy the world has ever seen.
Below are descriptions of some of our ministries to the poor in Eugene. We hope that you might learn something about this community, and might learn how you could offer some of your own gifts and resources to the poorest and most vulnerable in our midst.
For years we hosted car campers through St. Vinnie‘s, but have since moved on to an exciting project in transforming this ministry into parish-based “Tiny Houses of Hospitality.” We were the site of the very first Conestoga Huts and first Bungalow (now used at Opportunity Village Eugene. More to come!
South Hills Site of the Egan Warming Center
The Egan Warming Center provides temporary shelter to the homeless between November 15 to March 31 on nights when overnight temperatures are projected to fall below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
2nd Sunday Breakfast @ First Christian Church
Church of the Resurrection is part of a long-established ministry at First Christian Church which offers a good hot breakfast every Sunday to those who are hungry. It is both a ministry of meeting a basic human need and a ministry of hospitality and welcome and sharing of the grace which we have received with many who are not welcomed by society. In addition it is an opportunity for COR members to not only give, but to receive the rewards of mutual care and respect from many folks they otherwise might not encounter in their daily lives.
The actions of this ministry are simple: to prepare and serve breakfast to between 230 – 270 persons, men, women and children who are in need and to extend welcome to our guests and to receive their genuine thanks. Resurrection participates in the breakfast the second Sunday of the month. Volunteers are also needed for the Friday and Saturday prior to the second Sunday to shop and prepare.
First Place Interfaith Night Shelter, co-hosted with Unity of the Valley
The Interfaith Night Shelter Program offers temporary night shelter for up to 90 days to homeless families. More than 1,500 volunteers from more than 30 faith communities like ours contribute food, recreational activities, and comfort to as many as 20 families per night. Congregational hosts sign up for one to two weeks each year.
The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection formed an Outreach Commission in 2007 to serve the needs of the greater community beyond our doors in keeping with our faithful sharing of the Good News through Christ to the world. The Outreach Commission offers financial support in the form of grants, awarded primarily to local established and emerging non-profit organizations that address issues of community health, hunger, and homelessness. The Commission reviews grant requests up to $500. For more information and the grant application, click here.
Home Starter Kits (HSK)
A defining ministry of Resurrection, this ministry was founded by members Emily and Neil Morris (now departed). Volunteers preprare a kit with household basics for those moving from mental health, homeless, substance abuse and prison transitional programs into their own apartment or home. Kits include basic kitchen utensils, towels, sheets, pillows, cleaning and paper products and much more. Resurrection currently partners with St. John’s and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Churches as well as with Unity of the Valley. We also receive major assistance from St. Vincent de Paul, Love INC and First Christian Church.
Being consistent with the Baptismal Covenant is an important part of this ministry. One important statement in the Baptismal Covenant asks, “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?” The program serves Christ in all persons through providing basic home supplies to help lift vulnerable people into permanent, safe housing. Christ’s love to the world is shown to those in need by the caring and love provided in each individual kit. Evidence of vitality is readily demonstrated by volunteers’ time and energy given over the 25-year history of the program.
For information on donations or to help prepare and deliver kits contact Neal Mandich or Stevie Piccolo.
Interfaith Earthkeepers is a coalition of Eugene communities of faith:
…celebrating the beauty of land, sea and sky
…speaking up for the powerless and endangered
…participating in the repair and regeneration of every place
…activating communities of conscience to serve and keep our sacred Planet
Representatives from member communities connect Earthkeeper work to action teams in their home faith community. Meetings will be held on the 2nd Thursday of each month when we start up again in 2021; the 13 member faith communities take turns hosting.
Contact Jane R. Smith or Richard McGuinness, Resurrection’s representatives, for additional information.