This month on December 21st we will be honored to host the Coalition for the Prevention of Homelessness (CHIP) Annual Memorial Service for our homeless neighbors. Last year there were 41 known neighbors who died in 2015, as well as many who may not have been known. While this is the longest night of the year, it is also the turning point in the season. This somber service is also a moment of transition and hope.
In preparation for this liturgy, we asked Steve Burroughs, a member of CCC who was formerly homeless and who has since found permanent housing, to reflect on his experiences. If you’ve ever been to an 8 a.m. Sunday Eucharist, you’ve likely been welcomed by Steve, who serves as one of our Greeters. Here’s his story.
“I was born in Chicago, and grew up in Indianapolis. From 1979-1984, I was a client at Wishard Midtown. I had my ups and downs. I went from shelters to group homes to boarding with people in houses. Finally, three years ago, I got my own home: an apartment at Barton Annex, downtown.”
Though Steve had a Roman Catholic background, he ended up at CCC one Sunday because of bad weather and a lack of transportation to his old church.
“Once I came to Christ Church, I never left,” he says. “I was seeking peace of mind and soul, and I needed something spiritual. The assistance agencies can offer you a lot, but their assistance by itself wasn’t enough. I needed peace of mind. I get peace of mind here, and I’m so thankful.”
“If I had to give one piece of advice to anyone who is facing homelessness, I’d tell them this: when you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. Things will get better.”