At Trinity UMC in the San Diego neighborhood of North Park, the congregation understands that homelessness is a complex and complicated issue, especially in the area surrounding the church. They recognize that there are many services available for people in need a couple of miles away in downtown San Diego. But, Trinity UMC also believes that helping and compassion are important parts of being a community.
So, in late August, 60 folks gathered together one Sunday after church to make kits to give to homeless and underserved people in their neighborhood. Each kit had several long-lasting items collected from the congregation like socks, dental care supplies, Band-Aids, and other such things. The container for the sundries was a bright red, reusable water bottle.
“We then gathered and prayed over the bottles and the lives they might touch. Each participant took away the number of bottles they felt like they would need in order to give them away,” explained Pastor Matt Hambrick.”The response has been quite positive.”
Rob, a church member at Trinity, took two of the bottles along with him on his way to the gym one day. “First of all, it was so easy to find people in need,” reported Rob. “As soon as I mentioned socks, each of their faces lit up and they smiled. They were both a little shocked but very appreciative.”
Rob went on to say, “I was appreciative too. It felt really good to help. It made me realize how many people are in need right here in our neighborhood. It allowed me to really look for and see people. Often times I walk, thinking my own thoughts but not really connecting with others. This helped me connect with people in the neighborhood and connect with God.”
“I wanted to commission people into ministry on the streets and in their lives,” added Pastor Matt.
Indeed, the congregation gained courage to go beyond the church walls to minister to those in need. The experience has empowered them to do it again. “I look forward to handing out more bottles and socks to people in need. [Pastor Matt] is helping us help others, and help ourselves. He is helping us see and experience God in a tangible way.”