Sunday, September 18, 2011

Homeless in Honolulu

This past Wednesday I was part of a panel that discussed the topic of homelessness in Honolulu. The event took place at St. Andrews Episcopal Cathedral and included Connie Mitchell from the Institute of Mental Health Homeless Shelter; Marc Alexander, the State's Homeless Coordinator, and Dorothy Hine from the Waikiki Health Center.

The event provided a wonderful opportunity to address the issues of homeless and some of the discusion looked at the role that the church should play with the homeless. The State of Hawaii has advocated that faith based groups ceased feeding the homeless in parks and instead center their volunteer efforts at shelters such as IHS and the Lighthouse. I commented that St. Aidan's ministry is somewhat different in that we have a service first,  and that the feeding takes place on the grounds of St. Andrews. In addition, it was noted that a growing number of the folks who come to the 2pm feeding (typically around 200) can be described as the "hidden" homeless, that is, those who are on the verge of becoming homeless, and who typically live paycheck to paycheck. I also noted that with now one in six Americans in poverty, and one in five having some kind of mental illness, the church could/should play a significant role in helping people to find their way to healing and wholeness. The Celtic Church historically has always tried to welcome "the stranger" and those who are "searching". Many of us feel that we are providing a meaningful service to a disenfranchised group of people who for the most part are rejected by the cultural mainstream. Our Celtic tradition also reminds us that we find God in the face of the stranger, which is one of the reasons we believe in a ministry of hospitality.

There were approximately 70-75 people in attendance including some homeless people. In conclusion, I felt it was a wonderful forum, a wonderful start to a very difficult and complex social issue. I hope that we could have continued discussions on this topic.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gaelic Blessing by John Rutter

Been listening to some of John Rutter's music of late. I've identified a few of Rutter's pieces I like best, and one is "Gaelic Blessing" or "Deep Peace".
Here are the words:

Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you
Deep peace of Christ, of Christ
The light to the world to you
Deep peace of Christ to you

And now listen to the music by the Cambridge singers.

Great stuff to start and end the day.

The link is here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Homelessness in Hawaii

I had the chance a few weeks back to meet with Secretary Donovan (from HUD), who is on the President's Cabinet; Hawaii's two senators; Senators Akaka and Inouye; Governor Neil Abercrombie, and Mayor Carlise of Honolulu, to discuss homeless veterans. I've included a picture of myself with Senator Akaka and Secretary Donovon.

It's fantastic that folks at such high levels of the government are so deeply committed to the issues of homeless veterans. In addition, I was very impressed just how knowledgable and concerned they were with the veterans and curious to know what specific actions are being undertaken to help get veterans off the street. Makes me proud to be an American.