Tag Archives: church

Marietta Homeless Steve Talks About Mark

Steve is one of the recently evicted Homeless.  Below is a video of him talking about Mark, the mentally ill homeless man behind the mound of dirt (see the earlier account about Mark here). The conversation took place in a dinner meeting at Macland Presbyterian Church along with two other homeless evictees and members of the church.  The video was made Wednesday, January 30, 2008.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR7UnZ-LYX8] 

(video by Oldtimer – which explains the quality)

Here is a fairly close transcript in case you have some trouble hearing it.  Comments in (_) are mine:

Steve:

Mark…. you know… Mark.  Mark’s a good guy. Mark’s an educated guy.  Mark is a guy that is losing his mind.  His wife brought him over on 41 (nearby highway), dropped him off about four, four and a half years ago.  And he’s still sitting there, waiting on her and his kids to come back and pick him up.   Mark goes months and months and months without a shower.  Mark’s a good guy… you know? 

Well they made him move off that, his mound where he’d stayed four and a half months, you know right there by the fence by MUST.  Well, he had no where to go, so he moved down the walkway (by EMC?).  Today, he had a bed and bunch of blankets, pillows and everything, and he was just laying there just waiting on his wife to come back and get him.

Today the Marietta City and I don’t know who else it was, came and left him there and took all his blankets and left him there with no no warmth at all.  

So, if something doesn’t happen to him tonight, it might be the night of the next Dominic, you know.  He don’t have nothing except a coat and toboggan for cover.

A few minutes later Steve was saying he was going by there later that night and take him something (inaudible) to help him.  As I mentioned in the earlier post, other homeless people had been bringing Mark blankets, clothes and sack lunches and leaving them for him.   The compassion of the homeless is infinitely greater than that of the city that proudly touts “The All-American City” Award in 2006 from the National Civic League, and a “City of Excellence” in 2002 among others in vaious years.

Way to go!  Take the blankets right off a mentally ill man and just leave him there to possibly freeze to death!

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Ministering to the Homeless 4

Christian duty, county law at odds

in Westgate trial

This is the fourth in a series of articles on how to minister to the homeless.    It concerns a church that is intent on helping the homeless despite the efforts of the county where it resides.   The county wants to limit the number served or close them down.  They refuse.  This has been an 8 year battle so far and the church will not back down.  They are intent in their efforts to minister to the homeless where the county does not.

Find this story here
By Sonja Isger
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

WEST PALM BEACH – Westgate Tabernacle Church may be a place where the heartbreak of homeless men, women and children seems endless.

But what jurors should see first, said county attorney Amy Petrick, is a property owner who has engaged in a lengthy attempt to dodge county zoning and building regulations.

Church leaders built outdoor showers and toilets without permits and allowed people to sleep under a roof riddled by termite and water damage. They continue to pack as many as 100 people where county fire regulations say only 25 should bed.

Though they now claim they have a constitutional right to house as many homeless people in their sanctuary as they see fit, they once offered to seek a permit to shelter the homeless – up to 14 of them. “That’s what this is really about – the number of folks you can have in this facility,” Petrick said in her opening statements Tuesday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.

While the church occupies only a sandy, weed-filled patch in a run-down neighborhood, the sentiment it has stirred about how this community cares for its homeless has filled newspapers, church petitions and dinner conversations.

One excused juror said she had resolved just this weekend to send the church a check. Another potential juror went home after the first day of questioning and asked her husband to pull Bible verses specifically on the homeless. After being excused, Michelle Damone, a married mother of two, said that years back she got caught in a tropical storm and was taken in by strangers. She remembers praying over dinner with them.

The church’s attorney, Barry Silver, is not only arguing that the church must fulfill its mission, but that the county government is failing its homeless by not providing adequate shelter. On the contrary, Petrick said, the county gets millions from state and federal government to aid the homeless and spends even more of its own.

The county and the church, which was built in 1929 just north of Palm Beach International Airport, have been at odds since 1999, when code enforcement officials determined the church was violating zoning laws by operating a homeless shelter in a residential neighborhood.

This is what ministering to the homeless means

Oldtimer’s Comment: You may think that “packing” people in a “termite riddled” and “water damaged” structure is not the proper place for housing the homeless, but when the alternative is a card board box or abandoned car or a high place on the ground in the weeds, you are wrong.   If the county would provide the services, there would be no need for 10o men and women to show up nightly at the church.   Besides, the description used in court papers do not always shine the light that illustrates the true conditions.   See the YouTube video above and see for yourself.

These homeless people would not show up at the church night after night if there were safer or better accommodations.  It is this church’s determination to serve the homeless in the face of fines and or closure that I applaud, not the conditions, which as I see from the video are not the same as those mentioned in the news article.

Oldtimer

Habitat Build – June 16, 2007 Landscaping Day!

Uh Oh - Work to do

This may be my favorite picture

Landscaping is one of the hardest days of a build.  It is pure labor.  Everyone ends up exhausted and filthy.  If you look at any of the pictures you will find people with mud or red clay all over.   It is the day when there is never enough water and cold drinks to go around.  So sooner or later a keg is filled up with ice and we drink the melting ice.   Oh, what a blessing water is on Landscaping day.  We had about 40 volunteers today.   This little girl (see picture above), daughter of one of our volunteers, worked as hard as anyone – she could really move that sod!

Landscaping Duties

If you’re too slow,  you will be sodded over!

We could have used 60, but 40 was just enough.  One year we were doing two houses side by side and just plain ran out of steam.  Everybody was so pooped it was getting dangerous.  A quick call and a group of Methodists broke loose from the house they were building and came to our aid.   “Gotter Done”.   There were a couple of our workers who were sent to do “community service” for some offense or another (not in any of the pictures shown here), but they enjoyed it and will probably volunteer next time – it has happened before. 

As a matter of note, we are a Christian group, but there are houses going up that are built by Jews, Muslims and secular companies.   The most unusual local group building houses has three different religious organizations banded together to build Habitat Houses.  A Christian Church, a Jewish Synagogue, and a Muslim Mosque.   That way, believe it or not, there is a crew working 3 days a week around weekends because they each have a different day to worship.   While one group is worshiping, the other two are working.  Food, friendship and cultural differences are shared as are the pastoral and devotional duties.  

Dirty Job

Play in the dirt again!

We arrived at 8 AM to find 8 pallets scattered around the yard, mostly in the front.  The ground had been reasonably sculpted, but full of rocks, lumps and pretty ugly.  After the devotional and the mandatory safety lecture, the marching orders were given.   “Everyone grab a rake.”  The first 2 hours was raking – garden rakes that is.  Rake rocks,  totem away in wheelbarrows, scratch out dirt for picture perfect wallows – paths for rainwater to take, sculpt the planting areas, level and slope as needed.  “Gett’er Right” 

There were long 2×4 boards with 4 ft levels around to make certain that water ran the right way and no pools or rivers formed in the yard, regardless of the downpour. 

The landscaper that usually starts us off was not there, wanted to be but it was not possible.   Our Presbyterian Coalition happens to have a Master Gardner on its board and although Terry had been very sick the previous week, he showed up and got us all going in the right direction.  The plants were there, and he directed us on how deep and exactly where to put them, and how the ground should flow for best water usage.

So we raked, toted rocks away, molded the ground, dug holes, planted shrubs, flowers and trees, toted and placed sod and watered.  “Gotter Done”.   Several worked to get the rest of the soffit and fascia done.    The early joke by our SPM was “green side up.”  Then he grumbled (good naturally) the rest of the day that nobody appreciated his jokes.

The “tweet tweet” bird box was finally covered.  The fascia was finally covered, and the Georgia red clay was covered.   Red to green, what a transformation!

Lunch 

Each church volunteers to serve lunch at least once.  Today was my church’s day – Macland Presbyterian.    Lunch varies by church and by who gets stuck with the task of providing food (or sometimes insists).  Sometimes it is Subway sandwiches, another time it is Papa John’s pizza, other times it is home-made sandwiches.  Whatever it is, it is enjoyed.  Every lunch is preceded by a devotional and a request for a blessing. 

Taco Salid - delicious

A real feast!

There are pictures of the huge plates of food we had for lunch in the slide show.  Home – made taco salad with watermelon and home – made brownies.   It was cool and delicious.  Just right.   Across the street the sponsor there, a corporation, had barbecue catered in.  William’s Brothers.   Too expensive for a church group to have catered, but every time we have asked, William’s Brothers has donated the food.   Papa John’s has donated our food, so have several restaurants.

Take a Break!

The one cool spot!  

Friday’s subways were donated by a woman that happened to be in line behind the person from our group that had volunteered to pick them up.   “Are you a missionary?” asked the woman behind.  (The shirt said “First Presbyterian Missionary”).   “No, I just happen to be getting food for a Habitat build.”   “I would like to pay for it!” says the woman behind.  After a little “you don’t need to do that…. I want to…, ok, lets split it… no I want to pay for it all..” bantering, she ended up paying for 12 subways and drinks.  We don’t even know who she is.  Maybe one of those secret angels we hear about from time to time.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Margaret Pat, Joi Jeff

Margaret, Pat, Joi, Jeff 

Done for this year, well, almost done, maybe somewhat done.   We still have a clean up weekend scheduled next Saturday and a House Dedication July 15.  We turn over the keys on that date.   If everything goes well, it will pass inspection and we will get our CO – Certificate of Occupancy so that we can move in all that brand new beautiful furniture that a member of our church donated.   Living Room, Dining room, Master Bedroom, Second Bedroom, Office.   Washer Dryer and kitchen flatware,  pots and pans, glassware, etc.

Soon it will turn over from a mere house to a happy home.

Oh, and we have a bunch of fund raisers for the rest of the year.  Gotta raise money to pay for next year’s house and for more houses in Kenya.  8 in 2008 .  One here and 7 in Kenya.  9 in 2009.  “Keeper Going.”

Visit our Presbyterian Coalition web site (PCCH) through a link on the right.  PCCH has links to our churches and to this web site.  

Here is a link to the slide show for today – Landscape Slide Show, or click on any picture above.

 Oldtimer

OUCH! Our Habitat Homeowner Robbed of Belongings

Homeowner, Joi.  What a nice Smile.I found out today that Joi (photo), our future homeowner of the Habitat for Humanity house we are building for her in Mableton, Georgia, had her furniture and other belongings stored in a storage locker while waiting for her new home to be built.  

 She worked on the house with us Saturday, only to find out later that her storage locker, along with 17 others, was broken into over the weekend.   She is devastated at this bad news.   What should have been a happy occasion is now ripped to shreds by scum-of-the-earth thieves.

There is some help coming in the form of Pat of our church that owns a home staging company.  She had already planned to rally our church members and her business associates to  donate furniture to Joi and to stage her new home.   Now it looks like we need to  come up with even more.   Stay tuned.  If you would like to help with monetary donations, contact the PCCH site (also there is a link on the side bar) or Pat at pshankle@georgiahomestaging.com . 

We don’t have a procedure yet, but the PCCH is a 501 corporation through the church and it should be counted as a donation there.   Checks to them need to be made to “First Presbyterian Church, Marietta” and marked “Habitat donation for Joi” mail to: First Presbyterian Church, 189 Church Street, Marietta, GA  30060-1629, attention “Habitat Mission, Bob White”.    

Anything that comes through me or Pat would need to be made out to “Macland Presbyterian Church”, and marked “Habitat donation for Joi”, mail to: Macland Presbyterian Church, 3615 Macland Road • Powder Springs, Ga • 30127-1336 , attention: “Habitat Missions Team”,   If you live in the area and want to make furniture or other physical donations, contact Pat or the PCCH, or let me know through a comment and I’ll contact you by email.

Such thieves are trully miseable excuses for human beings.   

Click For all Habitat Articles  and more pictures of Joi and the progress being made.