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: jay@welcomeministry.org

-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.