Sunday, March 31, 2013

Urban Pilgrimage

Did you know that Welcome provides opportunities for individuals and groups to participate in an Urban Pilgrimage to San Francisco. Welcome's collaboration with SF CARES, makes it possible for Urban Pilgrimage participants to participate in diverse ministries that work with the homeless and hungry throughout San Francisco.

Pastor Jaimie, the campus pastor for the Wesley Foundation at the University of Merced, recently brought a  group of students to attended meals hosted by Welcome.  They served the hungry in the Castro/Duboce Triangle in partnership with St. Francis Lutheran Church and in the Polk Gultch neighborhood in partnership with Old First Presbyterian Church and Faithful Fools.  They also participated in the Night Ministry's Open Cathedral in the Civic Center and other opportunities in partnership with the Faithful Fools.

Pastor Jaimie, reflects on a recent Urban Pilgrimage she took with a group of students.:

If you would like to learn more about how you or your group can participate in an Urban Pilgrimage, contact

What do we have to offer each other?

Desserts for the Hospitality Hour

Have you checked out the ‘Volunteer’ tab lately?  It’s right up there, three tabs over from the ‘Home’ tab where you’re reading.  That was easy to find, wasn’t it?  If you click on it you will find a list of the volunteer opportunities Welcome has to offer.  We’ve got some great new ones thanks to our collaboration St. Francis Lutheran.

I’m going to highlight a few service opportunities below because that is where we are most looking for help right now, but what I want to write about is the kind of different model Welcome and the other SF CARES collaborators use. 

Did you know that in addition to all the ways you can help us, there is a whole list of things we would like to offer you?  Each week, in addition to being able to sit with, serve and learn from those we serve, in addition to being able to go over to the Free Farm and get your hands in the soil, Welcome and the other SF CARES collaborators offer a variety of worship experiences, opportunities to meditate, opportunities for self-reflection and learning and fun.  You can find the whole list here. Details for our new third Saturday trainings are below.

Everybody who serves with us and everyone we serve has something to teach and something to learn.  Everybody who serves and everyone who is served needs nourishment.  So many of our volunteers tell us they get more out of serving than the feel they are giving.  That may be so.  Either way a little extra to replenish one’s soul can only make it more true, can only leave one more ready to serve and be served.  So even if you aren’t ready or able to help with the specific needs below, come get you spirit fed at one or more of our programs soon.

Every Wednesday:
  • 10a.m - 2p.m.Senior Program, (152 Church St), activities, lunch and hospitality for seniors are provided at St. Francis Lutheran Church.  We are looking for people to help serve the meal, to sit and visit with our guests, and to assist them as needed.  We can use kitchen help from 10a.m. until 1p.m.and folks to help clean up from 1p.m. until 2p.m.

Every Saturday:
  • 9:30am-1:00, Hospitality Hour Preparation, (152 Church St) Food sorting and some prep work.  Come help us sort donated food and do some of the prep work for Sunday's meal.
Every Third Saturday:
  • 1:00p.m - 3:00p.m. Urban Ministry Training Series (152 Church St) Come join us to learn about a variety of topics to improve the safety and welcome of your urban ministry or program.  Everything from maintaining good boundaries to dealing with challenging guests to what is the most helpful menu for your feeding program to nourish your guests and reduce waste.

Every Sunday:
  • 7:30am, Hospitality Hour, Hosts, (152 Church St., just up from Market) Servers, Cooks, Dishwashers, Clean up at St. Francis Lutheran's Hospitality Hour.  We will soon be in need of a volunteer to power wash the sidewalk at 9:00am.

You can see the details of these projects here.

You can contact us at 415-673-3572 ext. 105 or to learn more about any of our opportunities.  And come back here regularly and click the Volunteer tab to see what’s available to you to receive as well as for you to do.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Welcome Ministry Anti-Oppression and Non-Discrimination Policy

Welcome Ministry
Anti-Oppression and Non-Discrimination Policy

Passed by our Board of Directors on October 22, 2008

The Welcome Ministry seeks to become an anti-oppressive organization. Because of our beliefs and religious traditions, we are committed to reducing the ways in which we participate in oppression and actively work against the oppression which affects our communities. In particular to our own histories and contexts, we recognize the need to be particularly committed to anti-racism, anti-classism, anti-sexism, and anti-ableism. We also seek to stand in solidarity as allies and encourage individuals to participate in other anti-oppression movements.

It is the policy of The Welcome Ministry to not discriminate or allow discrimination on the basis of any of the following:
-Race, color, national origin, culture
-Religion, atheism/agnosticism
-Sexual orientation/identity, marital status
-Gender, sex, gender identity/expression,
-Mental, cognitive, or emotional health status/impairment
-Physical status, including disability or impairment, height or weight, pregnancy, genetics, health conditions (including HIV/AIDS), or age 
-Economic status, class, finances, or education
-Other measures of power and privilege
-Any other status as protected by applicable local, state, or national laws.

This anti-discrimination policy applies to all positions within The Welcome Ministry, including employees, Board of Directors, guests, and volunteers. All staff, board members and volunteers are made aware of our policy and are expected to fully comply with it.

Grievances related to the Anti-Discrimination Policy are to be directed to The Welcome Ministry Board of Directors, who will investigate the matter in consultation with staff and/or legal consultation.

Friday, March 15, 2013

LGBTQ Homeless Youth Leadership Conference in Washington, DC

The LGBTQ Homeless Leadership Conference will gather 30 LGBTQ homeless youth, along with 10 support staff from the shelters and programs they represent from cities across the country.  Youth will gather from: Charolette, NC; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Chicago, IL; Washington, D.C., New York, NY; Houston, TX; and Minneapolis, MN.

October 8-10th - Creating a National Agenda for LGBTQ Homeless Youth
While in DC, the youth will create a national agenda for LGBTQ homeless youth and teach the agenda to organizational leaders and lobbyists.

October 11th - Taking the Agenda to Capital Hill
A rally, congregational visits and national call-in will generate support for the agenda created by the LGBTQ Homeless youth.

October 12-14 - Leadership Training and Promoting the Agenda at Home
The LGBTQ homeless youth will work with mentors and receive leadership training to enable them to advocate for LGBTQ homeless youth in their hometowns. 

Transportation support will be provided for 30 LGBTQ homeless youth and 10 staff from shelters and organizations that serve LGBTQ homeless individuals.  If you or youth that you are connected to are interested in attending the LGBTQ Homeless Youth Leadership Conference, please contact the Rev. Megan Rohrer (

Our accommodations are designed to bring awareness to the youth who are sleeping in shelters, often in churches that have opened up space to them.  During our conference the LGBTQ homeless youth and the adults supporting them will be staying in a hostel at Luther Place.  Dedicated to serving the homeless with emergency, transitional and long term housing opportunities through innovative whole body care, we are proud to partner with Luther Place and the Steinbruck Center for Urban Studies.

Leadership Team
The Rev. Megan Rohrer - Welcome, San Francisco
The Rev. Jen Rude - Night Ministry, Chicago
Andrew Garside - LA Gay & Lesbian Center
Bianca Vazquez - Steinbruck Center for Urban Studies at Luther Place

Kate Bornstein
Candice Gingrich
Zander Keig

Support the Conference
If you would like to support the project or provide scholarships for LGBTQ homeless youth to participate in the conference, you can donate to Welcome (all donations are tax deductible).  Please put "LGBTQ Youth" in the memo line.  Donations are accepted online or by mail: Welcome, 1751 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94109.

Contact Information
For more information about the project or to get involved in anyway, please contact the Rev. Megan Rohrer (

Saturday, March 2, 2013

First Month of Partnership with St Francis Lutheran meal programs

In February, the first month of Welcome’s partnership with St. Francis, the Sunday morning Hospitality Hour fed 506 adults, 38 children under eight, assured 6 individuals of their forgiveness and fixed one wheelchair.

Additionally, I have attended two neighborhood meetings where the overwhelming majority of individuals supported St. Francis. The San Francisco Examiner has printed three articles about the meeting, two were about the negativity of neighbors, one was a cover story and the last was an editorial supporting the congregation. The photographer, who came to visit the program, was so moved she signed up to volunteer.

In response to the Examiner articles, St. Francis received a donation with the following note: "when people complain the neighborhood church is feeding too many homeless people, that's where I want to send my money."

At the next neighborhood meeting on March 25th, I have been invited to present about the meal program at St. Francis. I plan to remind the neighbors that St. Francis has been a leader in the response to HIV/AIDs and that we are committed to help feed the 56% of infected individuals in San Francisco who don’t have enough food to take their medications regularly. I will also be letting the neighbors know that the city’s Homeless Outreach Team will be partnering with Welcome to work on getting homeless individuals at our meal program and sleeping on the streets near the church into permanent stable housing.

A few weeks ago, I gave a few of the children who eat at the Hospitality Hour a tour of the church. David Schoffeild the Director of Music at St Francis, showed them the organ. The next Sunday, the children asked if they could see the pulpit and they practiced proclaiming: “No matter what anyone says, God loves you!” Last Sunday, one of the young children gave me a huge hug and showed me her new cross necklace. Her unchurched parents said she was looking forward to coming to church all week.

Though it may have come an unexpected way, St. Francis can now proudly say that you have a children’s program on Sundays; it starts a few hours earlier than church and all the children leave with peanut butter and jelly on their daily bread.

Interested in volunteering at the Hospitality Hour, collecting food pantry donations or cooking on Saturdays from 9am-12pm or serving food Sunday mornings from 7am-9am? Contact our volunteer coordinator Pastor Valerie McEntee at to found out how you can help!