Ministry at the Margins
The lack of affordable housing is a major issue in Sonoma County, and more and more people now find themselves living in their cars, on the street, or in encampments. In 2021 Pastor John began visiting one of those local houseless encampments, just over a mile from the church, and others soon joined him. Since then we have developed partnerships with Petaluma People Services Center, Petaluma's SAFE Team, and other local churches to serve these often ignored and marginalized Petaluma community members.
With the help of local professional, Rev. Linda Powers (PCUSA), we are learning how best to engage in this very important ministry. We have made and delivered lunches. The church kids have made cookies to be shared. As a congregation we collect blankets, sleeping bags, socks and warm clothing. These items are taken to Petaluma People Services Center where they go toward providing for those in financial need, including the houseless, or for evacuees during fire season.
Jesus always extended a hand of friendship and/or provision to the most marginalized and needy people of his day. Those whom society rejected, he embraced. And so should we.
1 Month = 100 Gallons
During a particular season of need, every Monday, one of our church members delivered twenty-four gallons of clean drinking water to one of Petaluma's local houseless encampments. Some of this water was brought and donated by members of the congregation on Sunday mornings. Why water? Because clean, potable, water is one of the most requested items from encampment residents.
"I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing...Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."
- Matthew 25:35-36
"To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in a way that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist.”