Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Community Garden Workday

We will beginning regular work days at the St. Paulus community garden (Eddy and Gough) every Saturday from 10 am -2 pm starting January 2nd. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a sack lunch and wear long pants and close toed shoes. Volunteers of all ages are welcome and will be required to sign a waiver before they work in the garden. Bring gardening gloves if you have them.

There will be tasks that range from physically demanding to light.

Work days will be canceled if it rains.

If you would like more information about volunteering please contact:

If you would like to be notified by email of future workdays please sign up for our newsletters using the box in the upper right hand corner of this blog.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Will Write for Food: a benefit for WELCOME

A Conversation with Anne Lamott
Saturday, November 21st
Reception with our Writers: $100 at 7pm
General Admission is $20 (main event at 8pm)
The event will be followed by a book signing
Tickets can be purchased a the door or online at:

Proceeds help support the additional food needs of the homeless and hungry in San Francisco. You can learn more about WELCOME at

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall 2009 Skill Share SCHEDULE- now Thursdays 2-3pm

If you miss a topic that you'd like to learn about, E-mail Jay for resources:

FOOD AND MENTAL HEALTH: What we eat and drink can affect how we feel. Thursday October 8, 2-3pm
Learn about some common reactions to foods and drinks, how to identify how foods affect you personally, and tips to eat toward better mental health.

Guest presenter- Welcome Lutheran Volunteer Corps worker Case Garver
Learn and share ideas for making healthy food without a kitchen.

MEDITATION FOR ALL PEOPLE: Guest presenter Orion Pitts Thursday, October 22, 2-3pm
Learn about and experience meditation as a tool to relax, improve physical and mental health, and increase peace in your life. Our guest is studying meditation in religious traditions including Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, and can also speak to meditation without a specific tradition. He also runs a weekly Christian meditation group at First United Lutheran Church.

CHOICES ABOUT PSYCH MEDS: Thursday, October 29, 2-3pm
Learn about medications for psych symptoms, their risks and benefits, how they can help (and sometimes hurt), info that can help you make choices, and how to stand up for your choices about seeking/refusing meds.

MUSIC AND HEALTH: Guest Presenter: Welcome Intern Pete Feltman
Pete will share about how music can help with physical and mental health, including what is music therapy, how to use music to be healthier, and samples of what/how music can help. Thursday,November 5, 2-3pm

DISABILITY ACCOMMODATIONS: Thursday,November 12, 2-3pm
Most people with disabilities, whether major or minor, can participate more fully with specific accommodations. Hear about your rights, when/where they might be needed, accommodations that might be helpful to you, & how to get them.

RELAXING AND BREATHING: Thursday,November 19, 2-3pm
Guest presenter Judith Lavender Dancer, minister of embodiment at HerChurch
Learn, see, and practice easy and free ways to lower anxiety and help your breathing, with a whole-body perspective.


Recent budget cuts at state and local levels have changed the resources for medical care. Hear about the changes, how they might affect you, resources, and how you can help next year's budget to prioritize health care and services for all people.

HEALTHY AGING: Thursday, December 10, 2-3pm
Guest presenter Rev. Genie Kinney, Dir. of the Director Doris Krauss Sr Center
Defy stereotypes and get healthier as you age. Learn about resources and simple ways to age healthy.

DEPRESSION: Thursday, December 17, 2-3pm
What is it, do I have it, and what can I do about it?
Learn about resources and simple, free ways to self-treat depression symptoms.


New Thursdays at Welcome!

New schedule for Thursdays- every Thursday Welcome will be open 2-4pm:
2pm-3pm Health Skill Share- now every week!
3pm-4pm Welcome Worship- reflective, interfaith with Christian roots

All people are welcome to come participate and/or volunteer.
Have a skill to share? Like to set stuff up? Want to bring a snack?
E-mail Pastor Jay:

-More information about worship

See new Skill Share schedule in the next post.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Community Gardening Project

We're working on community gardens as a way to provide food for low income individuals. Below is something we are going to try to use to create some roof top gardens.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Urban Food Share: Community Gardening Project

Just a hint of some of the work we're doing to help people recover from the recession. Our new partner in this project is Produce to the People.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Welcome Worship: Volunteer and Participate

We're seeking volunteers of all and no faith traditions for our new Welcome worship service. Info on what we're up to is below, also see last post for detailed information for participants.

Welcome worship will happen every Thursday 6-7 pm, in the Fellowship Hall at Old First Presbyterian Church at Sacramento Street and Van Ness Avenue.

We will need some volunteers every week. We have help with music and set-up/clean up, but are looking for a few people with specific skills to help participants worship together. We are also looking for people to come worship, so you're welcome to do that without volunteering too.

If you are interested, contact Pastor Jay to sign up to do one or more of the following for a Thursday this summer:

-Set Up- need to be able to lift/move heavy things and/or arrange things
attractively *Need to arrive by 5:00 at latest

-Presence at prayer station- need to be calm presence, de-escalation skills and ability to pray with people within their own spirituality *Arrive at 5:30

-Help at art station- basic skills in using and explaning materials like
glue, scissors, how to work together on a project *Arrive at 5:30

-Manage door/watch for potential escalation- need to be able to de-escalate, answer basic questions, and recognize when staff needs to intervene *Arrive at 5:30

-Reader- person to assist with any text-based stations. Must be able to read fluently in regular-size print, or request ahead large print or other
formats *arrive at 5:30

-Clean up- need to be able to lift/move heavy things, as well as accept
direction or know where to return items *Arrive at 5:30, need to stay
until clean up is done (8pm at the latest)

Welcome Worship

A new way to be community offered by the Welcome Ministry.

Have you ever felt like you weren't welcome at a worship service?
Wanted to join in but didn’t know how? Couldn’t follow the service?
Wondered why the stories told didn’t match your life?

We welcome you to a worship service by, for, and with you
and your Welcome Ministry neighbors and community.

It will be based in Christian traditions but also sharing interfaith texts and comfortable for people with no religious tradition as well. Communion is available but optional. Accessible, hope-filled, and peaceful.
Many ways to participate, no pressure.
Hear and participate in music, see art, pray or meditate in different ways.
Have conversation about spirituality without being proselytized to.

Want to know more? Read here.

Welcome Worship

The Welcome Ministry is excited to share an opportunity to create a community worship together. After a year of research and planning, we have started!

We hold several values which will be upheld in our worship together:

· Many people in our community already worship, but feel our perspectives to be missing. Many others would like to worship but feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in other settings.
· There are few religious communities worshipping centered in the experiences of our community.
· The Welcome Ministry community is gifted in diverse experiences, visual arts, music, poetry, and performing arts.
· We value the diversity of religious and atheist perspectives in our community.
· We also value the roots of the ministry and support of religious and secular individuals and organizations.
· Pastors Jay Wilson and Megan Rohrer are pastors to the Welcome Ministry community. They come from Lutheran traditions and value interfaith pastoral care. This means that they can offer the Christian sacraments of baptism and communion as well as the practices and rituals of worship and confession, but that they can also respectfully work with individuals of all and no faith backgrounds without proselytizing.
· We seek to be rooted in the Lutheran lectionary texts, informed and inclusive of all beliefs. There will always be opportunity to share a text with the larger church, as well as opportunity to avoid scripture.
· We strive to hold the voices of community participants central in our planning and worship. We particularly strive to hear the voices most frequently dismissed or ignored central to our worship together.
· We strive to make worship as accessible to everyone as possible. We commit to always having access to people with mobility disabilities, vision and reading disabilities, mental health status, and sensory disabilities. Access to people who are feeling shy, traumatized, or oppressed are also priorities. If you see ways we can increase our accessibility, tell Pastor Jay.
We will seek to avoid as many potential trauma, anxiety, and sensory triggers as possible. We have a quiet room available if you feel overwhelmed or just need time alone. Please let us know what triggered you when you feel better so that we can avoid it in the future.
· Worship will in no way ever be required or recommended in order to access Welcome Ministry services, meals, or events. It is entirely voluntary.
· Pastor Jay can only do one thing at a time. Please make an appointment or come to the Welcome Center on Tuesday 2-4pm if you have individual needs.

We seek to provide a welcoming environment for everyone. Because we know the history and current climate of many religions excluded and continues to exclude many in our community, we offer the following statement of welcome. If you do not see yourself of your concern listed, talk to Pastor Jay and know that we mean you are welcome here!

You are welcome here however you identify or experience your own:

· Sexual orientation and gender identity

· Religion, philosophy, or atheism

· Disability, illness, HIV/AIDS status, mental health, Deaf community, or assistive technology use

· Veteran or peace movement participation, political commitments or political avoidance

· Race, ethnic origin, culture, immigration status, and language

· Height, weight, pregnancy, having had or protested abortion, and body shape

· Homelessness, evicted, sharing, squatting, renting, in a shelter, owning, or creatively housed

· Age and generation

· Trauma survivor, psychiatric consumer/survivor, or seeking to access or avoid mental health systems

· Whether you feel dirty or smelly, whether you can wash your body and clothes regularly or not

· Criminal history, incarceration, or current dilemmas about the law (as long as you are acting safely)

· Income amount and source, welfare benefits status, relationship to the Social Security system

· Education, literacy, and learning style

· Any other reason you might feel or have been excluded.

In order to uphold this welcome, in addition to our regular program rules we ask participants to commit to the following guidelines. We will help to follow these, as they take skill and self-awareness that are new to many people:

· We encourage the sharing of individual faith experiences. Proselytizing is not allowed.

Sharing sounds like “I believe…” and proselytizing sounds like “you should believe” or “do this.”

· Participate at your own pace. We encourage you to pay attention to your body and mind and to take care of yourself. Some ways to do this include taking breaks if you get overwhelmed, seeking help if you need it, or choosing how to participate that works best for you.

· No racism, homophobia, sexism, disability discrimination, ageism, classism, or other oppression. We all work together as a community in learning ways to speak to and about each other that welcome all.

· Take turns, allow people to share the worship space.

· To maintain a place of calm and safe worship, we especially remember the rule of no threatening behavior. This includes screaming. If you need to scream, please ask Jay for a space or step outside.

· We cannot help with individual needs during worship. Please schedule a time with Pastor Jay or come to our regular events (see last point on front).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Guests, volunteers, and staff working to keep city and state services

The city and state budget crises continue as budgets are being set for 2009. The impacts on people living in poverty, children, elders, and disabled people are projected to leave many without needed supports and services. In many cases, these services were inadequate to meet needs prior to cuts.
We have been working with guests, donors, and volunteers to find ways to advocate for community priorities to improve the lives of more vulnerable community members.

This week in the news:
SF Chronicle article with guests working for changes in the community
-We found out yesterday that this advocacy was effective, that the Central City Hospitality House Tenderloin Self-Help Center was restored funding. This center works with many Welcome Ministry community members to also help with getting IDs in ways different than the Welcome Ministry is able to help, so we refer people to each other when needed. TSHC is also helpful to guests in drop in space, art studio and lessons, support groups, a shelter, shelter sign-up for the city, and many other needed community-led supportive spaces.

We are continuing to work with neighboring services that are still scheduled to be cut, however, including:
-Caduceus Outreach Services
-Mission Neighborhood Resource Center- many Welcome Ministry guests use this is a primary place to shower and wash laundry. There are few other resources for these needs.
-Ozanam Detox
-MAP van- this provides safe rides to shelters from community services, medical services, and shelter sign-up. They also provide transportation for people who are intoxicated and need safe transportation to community resources. We call MAP vans an average of twice a week for guests.
-SRO collaboratives- in San Francisco, this is a main way that homeless people move indoors and work together to improve the quality of hotel housing.
-Daytime access for shelters- without this, people must wait outside or at other public places during the daytime, even when ill, tired, or unsafe.
-Support Housing Employment Collaborative
-Supportive Housing Programs- for people who are needing help to maintain healthy living after moving inside, supportive housing provides mental health and physical help to remain housed. Many who receive these services will not be able to maintain housing without it.
-Mental health and substance abuse programs- currently people must wait 1-2 months to enter substance abuse programs after initializing contact, by which time many people have de-stabilized and are no longer able to enter. People are also waiting months to get ongoing mental health services as is. With cuts in funding, these services will not be accessible to many community members.
-Many more!

What can we do?
-Attend Board of Supervisors Budget Hearing on Monday June 22-
-4pm rally at Tenderloin Self-Help Center, 290 Turk Street
-5pm City Hall, Board of Supervisors chambers

-Call the Mayor's Office 415-554-6141
-Thank mayor for changes to budget including reinstating Tenderloin Self-Help Center
-Ask that other critical services for people living in poverty to be reinstated

-Keep informed about ongoing budget changes, and respond accordingly

-On the state level, California Disability Community Action Network offers great updates and actions to take

Have other resources on politics or ideas for changes?
Feel free to comment.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Celebrate our identity crisis!

In 2008 the Welcome Ministry started a new program called the Homeless Identification Project. We discovered that lack of identification was a barrier that prevented our chronically homeless and hungry guests from accessing the crucial support they needed from government, health and social service organizations.

With a substantial support from Wheat Ridge Ministries, the Welcome Ministry set out to help 150 people obtain their identification. In 2008 we got 340 and already we helped with 149 in 2009. We have not only exceeded our goal, but we also helped a substantial majority of our homeless friends to move indoors.

So today I am proud to announce that the Welcome Ministry has an identity crisis. It no longer makes sense to call ourselves a homeless ministry. Our board will be meeting soon to talk about what our new identity will be.

We continue to offer support to our community, to listen for the small things we can do to a miraculous difference in the lives of those living in poverty and to teach people the skills they need to live independently as a full member of the community. And as we begin our new community gardening and cooking program, we are starting to reach beyond our community in to spark an Urban Sharing movement that we hope inspires communities across the country to share their resources in this vital time.

Today I invite you will join me in celebrating the Welcome Ministry’s identity crises. The Welcome Ministry no longer primarily serve the homeless. Thanks be to God!

Rev. Megan Rohrer


P.S. The Welcome Ministry is unlike other organizations that celebrate low administrative costs. We believe that all the resources we need are out there and find that people will share them when we they know what we need. We strive to get all our supplies and food donated. Your financial support enables us to spend less time fundraising and more time helping people help themselves. Donate Online

Monday, April 20, 2009

How to respond to panhandling?

When someone asks you for a dollar on the sidewalk, do you ever wonder what would be the most effective way to help?

Born out of a series of meetings between faith groups, businesses and local residents of the Polk Gulch District, the Welcome Ministry listens deeply to the needs of those living in poverty, the community and city government. Our programs not only fill in the gaps between what the city and other organizations provide, but focus on the crucial barriers that prevent people from improving their quality of life.

For example, when the Welcome Ministry learned that lack of identification was preventing hundreds of homeless individuals from gaining access to city and organizational resources, we developed the Homeless Identification Project. As a result organizations with ten times the budget of the Welcome Ministry began referring their clients to us. While helping 224 people obtain their birth certificate and 121 obtain state issued identification may not seem like much, the program enabled more than 155 individuals obtain housing in 2008.

This year, the Welcome Ministry is creating two crucial new programs. As we began to help our formerly homeless guests move indoors, we learned that their new homes do not have proper cooking facilities. Instead of giving out food like a typical food pantry, with an assumption that individuals have a way to cook groceries, the Urban Food Share Program will provide pre-cooked take home meals, opportunities for communal cooking and gardening and health and
nutrition classes.

But the needs of those living in poverty go beyond food and shelter, many of our guests have trauma from military service, domestic or childhood abuse, violence or as a result of years living on the streets. Stress and anxiety from trauma can be debilitating. Classes and direct one-on-one care will enable many of the most vulnerable in our community to cope with or heal from the trauma that prevents them from improving their quality of life.

If you are like the Welcome Ministry, and you want to invest in small changes that can make a big difference in addressing the root causes of homelessness, please join our unique community of San Franciscans responding to homelessness, one person, one sidewalk, one city at a time.

Support the Welcome Ministry

Monday, April 13, 2009

Begging Letter

April 13, 2009

Friend of the Welcome Ministry

I woke up to yelling and a women gesturing with a knife. It was my first night in the women's shelter, and the cook wanted to let us know how grateful we should be that she was making our breakfast. The next morning she woke us up at five to let us know she would not be waking us up for another hour. When I told her I was allergic to dairy, she told me she had to put cheese in the eggs, or they would turn green.

After spending this last week on the streets and in the shelter, I experienced the abuse that is inflicted on others through lack of voice and choice. My nights in the women's shelter reminded me of life living with an abusive parent who praises or punishes in volatile way that kept me wondering at all times what the rules were. It turns out that the rules were whatever those with power said they were. I found myself growing passive and unable to advocate for my own needs (those who know me will tell you how unlike me this is). I also found myself jumping in front of a swinging cane to prevent a man from hitting a woman. After he left she remarked: "He thinks I'm his girlfriend, but really I'm his punching bag." Then I remembered that human nature sometimes makes it easier for us to care for others.

The Welcome Ministry is designed to be an antidote to the experience that many hungry and homeless individuals live with day to day. After living on the streets for a week, I am convinced that the Welcome Ministry offers our friends is unmatched by other service agencies in the city. We listen more than we speak, we center our programs around community and work with our guests to increase the number of choices they have. When their voices are not being heard, we advocate for them whilealso teaching them to advocate for themselves. And at the same time we are able to help our guests acheive their goals. Last year 155 of our guests were able to move indoors.

You can read about my reflections on the streets at:

Now that I am back in the comforts and privilege of my work at the Welcome Ministry, I am excited to work on creating ways that we can help our friends take care of their bodies and in encouraging them to exercise choice and strength in their voice.

Our work includes helping our friends heal from post traumatic stress disorder and learn more about life skills and health. Later this year we will begin to provide worship that is designed for their particular mental health and addiction needs and a media story telling project that will connect guests to their family.

Please support this work with your time, talents and treasures. The more financial support you offer the Welcome Ministry, the more time I will have to share my learnings from the street with faith groups, organizations and politicians. And more importantly, the more time I will have to give one on one support to help our guests improve their quality of life.

I beg you to send a gift of $77, $770 or $7000 to the Welcome Ministry in honor of my 7th street retreat.

Humbly yours,

Rev. Megan Rohrer

P.S. Your gift to the Welcome Ministry allows the homeless to improve their quality of life without losing their dignity!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Contact Information!

The Welcome Ministry phone numbers are changing, effective immediately:

To reach Pastor Megan Rohrer or Pastor Jay Wilson, call us at 1-866-999-3596
Pastor Megan is at extension 501, Pastor Jay at extension 502 (the outgoing message will tell you this as well)
Fax and E-mail remain the same.

Why are we changing our phone numbers?
-To save lots of money so that we can spend more on meeting guest needs
-So that our guests (and everyone else) can call us toll free
-To improve our phone service, which had difficulties when using cell phones in our offices
-To make sure we don't miss any messages, because they'll come to our E-mails as well
-To give people more ways to reach us- you can also find us on Skype at 925-348-9344 under the screenname "mmrohrer" (don't be fooled- we're both at that name)
-To help us set better boundaries about when we're available to take calls and when we're not

Let us know if you have any difficulties reaching us, so that we can fix any potential problems. Our E-mails remain the best way to reach us:
Pastor Megan:
Pastor Jay:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Work Featured by HRC

Profile in Ministry: Expanding the Definition of an LGBT Advocate

Photograph by Gabriela Hasbun.

Rev. Megan Rohrer was recently featured in the exhibit, Polk Street: Lives in Transition, that explores San Francisco’s Polk Gulch neighborhood from the 1960s to the present. Examining the historic changes that have occurred in this famous community, the exhibit asks tough questions about the ways gentrification challenges lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender hospitality. It asks us to think about what it means to welcome LGBT people? Does economic disparity narrow our sense of welcome? When we advocate for the LGBT community can our vision incorporate a spectrum that includes sex workers, homeless seniors and runaway youth? What are the intersections with our work for LGBT justice and the work of building and sustaining healthy communities where all can prosper?

One of the participants in this project, Rev. Megan Rohrer, challenges us to think about our communities in just such ways. Megan first came out as a lesbian (later she would identify as gender queer) at 18 in South Dakota and discovered at the same time that she wanted to be a pastor. While leaving the overt homophobia of South Dakota for seminary at the Pacific School of Religion and the progressive community of Berkeley, Calif., she still felt a sense of alienation—this time because of class--among the affluent neighborhoods in the Berkeley hills. She eventually found her way to what would become her true calling, ministering to the homeless through the Welcome Ministry program at Old First Presbyterian Church in San Francisco.

The people Megan ministers to range in age from teenagers to senior citizens and are largely sex workers, transgender people, gays and lesbians –many of them from small towns across the country--who came to San Francisco to escape persecution and judgment. Although they may not identify on paper as LGBT, Megan recognizes many commonalities. Like her, many came from across the country to San Francisco--the Mecca for LGBT folks--only to discover that hundreds of thousands of other people had made that same choice. As Megan describes:

They didn’t have any family connections to help them out, and everybody knows rent is so expensive in this town that, the only thing that was left for them was sex work. As the gay community--as the richer gay community--moved towards the Castro, the less wealthy gay community stayed here, and a lot of the sex workers who worked along Polk Street continued to stay here because they always would have people who would bring them food, here. . . . and they knew, as long as they stayed in this neighborhood, even if they weren’t pretty enough anymore to be sex workers, people would take care of them.

In the spirit of Jesus who also spent much of his time among sex workers, Megan’s ministry has sought to build community among the most marginalized and in the process to expand our vision of what community and LGBT advocacy can mean. As we work to build support in Congress for hate crimes legislation and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act during an economic crisis when job discrimination and violence is escalating, we are reminded that it is the most marginalized in our communities that suffer first and are hit the worst. Megan’s ministry models for us what it means to build truly inclusive community that can sustain all of us.

To follow Megan’s ministry, read her blog: Also, check out her contribution as a writer for HRC’s Out In Season, a seasonal preaching and devotional resources written from a transgender perspective.

To learn about the other stories from Polk Street, check out the exhibit Polk Street: Lives in Transition. If you live in the Bay area or are traveling to San Francisco any time before May 31, 2009 you can view the exhibit at the GLBT Historical Society, 657 Mission Street, #300. Visit their website to learn about more community events and future developments of this important project.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mail for Justice

Did you know that supporting the Welcome Ministry means promoting just mail.

The Welcome Ministry believes that it is unjust to require individuals to have a “residential mailing address” in order to obtain access to vital and life saving services.

Many of the individuals we work with are unable to use the address of the place where they live because they facilities refuse to accept mail, others stay in shelters, live on the streets or have other unstable situations that prevent obtaining an address that the location where they dwell. Still others have accessibility needs and need help reading their mail, determining what mail is important or other assistance.

The Welcome Ministry provides a safe place for people to obtain their mail, in a way that keeps them safe and helps improve the quality of life of the individuals who receive their mail here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

2008 Annual Report

While the best measure of our success can be found in the stories of how the lives of our guests have changed, a more tangible way to see our success in 2008 can be seen by looking at the numbers of what we have accomplished. In 2008, we took a leap of faith and hired an additional staff person (doubling our staff and our budget). We are proud to report that we were able to raise $1,525 more than we spent.

Our two paid staff members, pastors Megan Rohrer and Jay Wilson, spent their time in the following way (recorded by number of sessions):

• 3224 Meals served (Welcome Center: 1560, Evening Outreach: 225, Saturday Community Dinners: 1439)
• 682 Providing Pastoral Care sessions with Individuals/Families
• 68 Connecting individuals with their family
• 63 Accessing transportation
• 224 Obtaining birth certificates
• 121 Obtaining state and other types of identification
• 157 Assisting with Social Security programs
• 94 Teaching money management
• 241 Responding to special requests for specific material needs
• 255 Referring to housing (including 153 instances of coordinating with the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team which typically ends in obtaining housing)
• 84 Accessing medical care
• 125 Accessing social services (including 64 instances of coordinating with case managers or allied professionals)
• 34 Advocating for other Disability accommodations or support
• 50 Directing to & utilizing legal resources
• 145 Directly reducing anxiety/stress (including 55 instances of PTSD direct support)
• 48 Facilitating to seek employment
• 13 Resolving mail issues (in addition to delivering mail daily)
• 8 Supporting individuals to apply for colleges/scholarships/jobs
• 1079 Distributing socks and toiletries
• 57 Testing for Tuberculosis 5 Conducting Memorial services
• 52 Participating in Health Skill Share classes

In 2009, you can expect the following new programs at the Welcome Ministry:
Urban Food Share Program: The Urban Food Share Program will work to create a community space to learn about nutrition and the slow food movement. This will include individual guidance for people to discover their own particular dietary needs and create a model for sharing food that uses a choice and empowerment model to explore ways to enable individuals with little or no access to a kitchen, refrigerator or microwave to eat healthier. We also hope to create a community gardening space so that our guests can have a closer connection to the foods they are eating.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Program: to help the homeless and other low income individuals deal with PTSD. In addition to the family and life trauma's that afflict many of the homeless, there are also 2,100 homeless veterans, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Worship and Reflection opportunities
In 2008 we initiated a study of the spiritual practices and needs of the Welcome Ministry community. While many individuals have found ways to partially meet these needs in other communities, even those with ties to other communities still wanted to participate in a worship here. We will be working on crafting an interfaith service in emerging church style, with reflective and community-building opportunities. In honoring both the expressed needs for interfaith space as well as Christian space, we will be using station-based planning so that people can choose which practices best fit their beliefs while sharing in community. Access in terms of financial/socio-economic, cultural, spiritual, anti-oppression, and disability access will be integrated in the process of planning, so that people whose experiences are marginalized are the center of this community. While initially staff and volunteers will plan and support this worship, we will draw directly from the Welcome Ministry community in all aspects of planning and implementation, particularly utilizing the vast artistic and musical talents of our guests. In addition to providing a more direct avenue for pastoral care, this will also supplement our main goals of creating community and empowering guests to use their gifts.

Organizations we worked with

-Adult Services, City & County of SF
-CATS- Community Awareness and Treatment Services
-CATS Coronado Hotel
-Central City Hospitality House
-City Hall, Board of Supervisors
-Coalition on Homelessness, SF
-Community Behavioral Health Services for the City & County of San Francisco
-Cornell House- Federal and State Prison Release Programs
-Department of Motor Vehicles, SF
-Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
-DisAbled Student Union at the Pacific School of Religion
-Elk Hotel (Tenderloin Housing Clinic)
-Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries
-Faithful Fools Street Ministry
-GLAAD (ordination media support)
- GLBT Historical Society
-Glide Memorial Walk-In Center
-Grace Cathedral Episcopal Church
-HOME Team (psychiatric emergency placement)
-Independent Living Resource Center of SF
-Independent Living Resource Utilization (free continuing ed broadcasts and resources)
-Larkin Street Youth Services
-Lighthouse Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
-Lutheran Social Services of Northern California
-Mayor’s Office on Housing, SF
-MediCal & Medicare
-Martin De Pores House of Hospitality
-The Mental Health Association of SF
-Middle Polk Neighborhood Association
-National Association of Social Workers, CA Chapter
-National Center for Transgender Equality
-National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
-New Leaf Services for Our Community
-San Francisco Department of Public Health
-Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
-The San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team
-The San Francisco Night Ministry
-Social Security Administration
-St. Anthony Dining Room
-Swords to Plowshares
-Tenderloin Housing Clinic
-Trans Shelter Access Project, Toronto, Canada

Organization who provided In-Kind, Benevolence or Volunteer Support:

-Chinatown Presbyterian, San Francisco
-Christ the Good Shepard Lutheran, San Jose
-Christ Church Lutheran, San Francisco
-Community Thrift
-ELCA Domestic Hunger Program
-Episcopal Charities
-Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries
-Faithful Fools Street Ministry
-First Congregational Church, San Francisco
-First United Lutheran Church, San Francisco
-The Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, MN
-Girls, Inc. Oakland
-Glide Memorial Walk-In Center
-HerChurch (Ebenezer Lutheran), San Francisco
- Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, South San Francisco
-Lutheran’s Concerned/North America
-Miraloma Community Church
-Old First Presbyterian Church, San Francisco
-Palo Alto Lutheran
-The Presbyterian Hunger Program
-Spirit Garage (Lutheran mission congregation, Minneapolis)
-The St. Francis Foundation
-St. Francis Lutheran, San Francisco
-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, San Francisco
-St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, San Francisco
-St. Paulus Lutheran, San Francisco
-San Francisco Department of Public Health AIDS office
-The San Francisco Presbytery
-Sisters of St. Dominic
-Sojourn Chaplaincy at San Francisco General Hospital
-Spirit Garage, Minneapolis, MN
-UCC Neighbors in Need
-Van Loben Sels/Rembe Rock Foundation
-Wheat Ridge Ministries

Monday, January 19, 2009


Poverty is a way of being by which the individual lets things be what they are: one refuses to dominate them, subjugate them, and make them the objects of the will to power. One refuses to be over them in order to be with them. This demands an immense asceticism of the renunciation of the instinct to power, to the dominion over things, and to the satisfaction of all human desires. L. Boff