Guest Contributor, James. Interviewed by Mel.
For this month’s View From Here, we have a guest contributor. James has been part of the Sanctuary community for several years and graciously offered some insights that he has gleaned along the way. Here James shares some of his experiences of what the Sanctuary community means to him…
When asked what is important for people to know about what it’s like to survive on the streets, James shares that what’s important is to have a place of belonging where one feels valued. He puts it simply: “To feel wanted.” Where many people are ignored or silenced by the broader society, another significant need is relationship and space to be heard: “You guys talk to us.” Health is so important for all of us! But for many people marginalized by poverty, going to a clinic or hospital can be intimidating. The Sanctuary clinic strives to provide relational health care and a non-judgmental space. As James says, referring to the nurses, “They take care of us; they love us.”
James is a fantastic Scrabble player… I have yet to beat him at a game, though I am working on it! Regarding the Friday Games Day, he comments, “It’s just a gathering. That’s why people go there.” We all need places to gather with friends. Many of us might find ourselves chilling at a friend’s place on a weekend afternoon; for our Sanctuary community, the Games Drop-In on a Friday is like hanging out in Sanctuary’s living room.
Referring to the community meals throughout the week, James finds that the food is good. He says, “The staff are what we show up for. Sanctuary is where we congregate.” Indeed our congregation happens throughout the week, in addition to the more typical “congregation” that you find here on a Sunday evening during church service. 25 Charles St East is where many of us gather and meet, checking in on each other and sharing laughs.
On Sundays, James is drawn to the reading of Scripture and teaching. He comes to “listen to the word; it’s something you believe. It’s all one God. It makes sense sometimes.” Together we learn and listen to the word, worship together and pour out our hearts and selves to God, in times when things make sense and in times when it’s hard to know why things are the way they are.
Having been a regular face in the community for a number of years now, James observes the significance of what “community” means – drawing a diverse group of people together to share meals, friendships, and the highs and lows of life together. “We’d be all over the city if it wasn’t for you. Sanctuary does a good job.”
Thank you, James, for sharing your thoughts with us!