Anawim Christian Community

3733 N Williams Ave
Portland, OR 97227
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Recent Anawim Art

  1. System of Mercy, System of Judgement


    -When six police officers came to my church, handcuffed and seated ten people in the parking lot and threatened them verbally. Ten more officers came, with their lieutenant, who asked me, “Are you the pastor? Does your congregation want people like this here?” I pointed at all the people they had handcuffed and said, “They ARE my congregation.” The lieutenant turned to his officers and said, “We aren’t wanted here, let’s go” and they all released the folks and left. But not before the officer who started it all screamed at my face for “enabling these criminals.”

    -The time an officer came to my church, harassing someone on my property. I calmly informed him that people who threaten others aren’t allowed on the property and he would have to stop or leave. He turned on me and said, “Sanctuary, what kind of a name is that”? I said, “It means a place that is safe for people to honor God.” “You mean safe from the authorities?” “Safe from anyone who threatens their well-being.” He huffed off.

    -The time a group of officers came to move someone off of our property and they handcuffed and threatened the person in question. I told them not to threaten or harm him. An officer replied to me, “If you really want to help him, you’d send him to jail.” I replied, “Jail isn’t what he needs. He needs the freedom and opportunity to choose mercy and kindness. Jail takes away all choices, not allowing for any real change to happen.”

    -police homelessAn officer comes to our property during a winter shelter and asks if there are any problems. “No problems,” I say, “We work things out ourselves here.” “Well, if you need any help,” he says, “Be sure to call us. We are here to help you workers, not these people,” he points to houseless folk smoking beside the church.

    * * *

    Byron, a homeless Christian I know, told me, “The church is there to show God’s mercy as an opportunity.  When someone isn’t ready for mercy, then God hands them over to the authorities for judgment.

    If we are helping people on the margins, we need to remember that the police are for judgement, not for justice.  When we call the police, we are enacting the wrath of the world upon the one we are judging, and we may very well be taking their lives in our hands.

    The police are not there to protect the margins. They are there to protect the “proper” people, the church going people, the people who sound educated and of a proper class.  The people of Jesus are there to support the margins.  Perhaps we should let the police do their job, away from where we do ours.

  2. Picnic

    picnicA group of friends sat down in the park to have a picnic. The sun was bright, they laid down a couple blankets, they were teasing each other. They were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Someone had brought a Frisbee and they were passing it around. They had just bought some hamburgers and were using the barbecue to grill it. Everyone was having a great time.

    Suddenly, the police came and told them that the dispatch had received a call complaining about them so they had to leave. When someone asked, “Why? What did we do?” The police responded, “We’ve told you before, the park isn’t for you. It’s for our citizens.”

    One of the men gets bold and says, “We are citizens. We live in this neighborhood.” They are told that they don’t pay taxes, so they had to go. A woman says, “What about our food? It will be ruined if it doesn’t finish cooking.”

    The police say, “That’s not our problem. You have to go. Now.” They pack up to leave.

    They were homeless.

    What if you couldn’t partake of every day pleasures simply because you lost your job, because you didn’t have a home. This kind of story happens to tens of thousands of people everyday. The homeless are our children, our parents, our co-workers, they go to school with our children. As a society, we need to give the homeless a place to thrive.

  3. Community House

    3733In 2003, Diane and I opened our home to people on the street.  That wasn’t the first time we enacted this hospitality.  We had folks in our two bedroom apartment with our three kids, staying in our living room for years before.  And before that, we had immigrants, refugees, friends and people who just got out of prison.  Bu they all stayed for a limited period of time, up to a few months, to get on their feet.

    Now we were looking for a longer term solution, to keep people until they had another viable option.  Sometimes this is for a few days, but sometimes many years.  To belong to our community, we asked that people attended a worship service or Bible study and that they work ten hours for the community.  We would provide a room, electricity, running water, a shared kitchen and what food we were able to provide.

    We all worked together, helping each other, helping others. Diane and I raise our kids in the environment of community living, homeschooling them and loving to see them live with and interact some of the poorest of the poor, as well as the unique families we had with us.  It provided a unique place for them to grow up.

    We’ve had kids playing in the house, people quarreling, others recovering from illness, others working together on common projects.  We’ve had many jokes, many songs, many discussions, many difficulties, many friendships.  All gathered together to love– although some attempts were more successful than others.  And some roads to love took longer than others.

    I will especially remember Vickie, who always quietly served and got along with everyone.

    Byron, who would be there to comfort and to passionately declare the scriptures.  Sometimes too passionately.

    Tim, who was recovering from a particularly hard road on the street, and who rested and then passed away in our room.

    Hammer, who came to learn how to love, and took gentle leadership in difficult situations.

    Tim and Samantha, whose family grew during their stay here.

    The Markoya family, whose children were a joy.

    Ron, who puttered around our gardens for about a decade.

    Ankles, the handyman who kept things running in an innovative, but knowledgeable manner.

    Styx, who was silent and gruff until you got to know him and then he was immensely loyal.

    Mark and Mary Anne who married here and whose artisan ways shaped their lives.

    Dion, Pam, Bryon, Uncle Jimmy, Trucker, Half Rack, Barry and so many more.

    And Mike, who was here to clean up the house for opening and is here to see the house close.

    Three years ago, we told all the current inhabitants that June 2018 the house would close and that us Kimes’ weren’t going to live in community any more.  We are getting ready now to prepare the house for sale, and then to move on to the next direction.  This house was a dream when we started Anawim in 1996, and now that dream is behind us.

    The funny thing is now the Portland city council declared our overpacked dwelling and backyard legal.  They want to see more homes do what we did for a decade and a half.  And I encourage others to do this as well.  Jesus is out there, the stranger, waiting for someone to take him in, to give him space to live.  We need to get to know him and invite him into our homes.  The need is greater than ever.

  4. “Are Homeless People Worthless?”

    Back to School volunteers Amber Genevieve Pat Kristi BarbaraA question I was asked to respond to.  Here’s my answer:

    I suppose it depends on who you ask.

    Some people consider all horseless people worthless because they are either mentally ill or addicted, because otherwise they wouldn’t be on the street. Many homeless consider themselves worthless because they have failed at the basics of living in society. They see themselves and anyone else in their community on the street failures, worthless, pointless. Others look at a person on the street as disgusting, to be treated as trash, out of their neighborhoods and only deserving to appear at soup kitchens and repenting at church.

    However, there are many of us who disagree. How some look at the outcast has nothing to do with their worth. Their dirty clothes hide noble souls, jewels buffed by difficulty. They are people who are missing stability and a loving community for them to be whole people. But they still give so much.

    Homeless people give to society, recycling and reusing what many throw away. They help and encourage their fellow poor, providing hope and opportunities for survival.

    On a freezing night, a young woman was kicked out of her home with only shorts on and no shoes or a coat. She huddled in the snow next to a transformer, proviing the only heat she can find. My homeless friend rode by on his bike and said, “You look cold! Wait here for a few minutes.” In ten minutes, visiting three dumpsters he frequented regularly, he came back with a coat, shoes and a pair of socks. It didn’t get her out of the cold, but it helped her survive.

    Homeless people are among the most generous people I know, all while struggling against the economic force of the world. No one is worthless. Homeless folks least of all.

  5. How Does a Homeless Individual Obtain State ID?

    id oregonIt is frequent that houseless folks lose their ID.  Wallets are stolen, misplaced, taken by officials sweeping their camp.  In obtaining a new ID, there could be a number of issues: finances, proof of identification, and having an address to put on an ID.

    1. Birth certificates are the main form of proof.  If one doesn’t have this, they must obtain it from the county of their birth.  This is easiest to get if one has an immediate family member obtain it for them.  To get it otherwise, one has to have other kinds of proof, such as an affidavit from a person who knows who they are, signed before a notary public.  Other kinds of proof could  be military records or jail/prison records.

    2. Generally a person proves their address by giving a piece of mail from an address.  But what address?  P.O. Boxes aren’t accepted. In most cities there are churches or non-profit organizations who will act as an address for people who live on the street.

    3. Many cities have organizations that provide finances to obtain state ID.  Check a local shelter or day shelter if they have any information about help in this area.

    There is also a possibility that if a person is still in the system, a copy of their ID might be provided with a minimum proof, as they have a picture and signature of the individual in their system.  Check with your state DMV for more information on this.

  6. How does Homlessness Affect the Economy?

    RobertHouseless folks add to the economy in many ways. Forty percent of houseless folks have jobs, others are active in recycling, and all of them participate in paying sales tax.

    The real economic drain comes in health expenses. Many houseless have no health insurance, and emergency room visits are a huge expense. Living in the rough is unhealthy and most the average year of death of houseless folks is 48, before that end, many have expensive procedures.

    It is considerably cheaper for a society to provide housing than to treat people who live on the street. The economy would improve, and we would have more citizens involved in our community, if all who wanted to be housed could be.

  7. Why are So Many Houseless Addicted?

    Causes-of-Homelessness (1)It is often assumed that houseless folks become homeless due to drugs and alcohol, which is why there are so many people we see using such items on the street.

    However, it has been shown that approximately fourteen percent of those on the street lost their housing due to substance abuse. As a person is on the street longer, the more likely it is that they will be addicted to a drug. Chronic houseless individuals are much more likely to be addicted than a person on the street for a year or less.

    This is because drugs or alcohol are being used as a way to ease the pain of living on the street, especially if they are regularly harassed and abused. Up to 80 percent of homeless youth use substances to deal with the trauma they experience every day.

    I have found again and again that many houseless individuals or couples find it a fair exchange to drop their substance abuse for stability and opportunities for a new life. This isn’t true of everyone, as the street is also the only reliable depot of those our society considers unacceptable. But we need to stop considering substance abuse as a personal failure and instead see it as a health issue in our society.

    Reference: National Coalition on the Homeless,

  8. Give Like God

    Meeting PlaceI am a big believer in doing what Jesus says.

    Moses has got some wisdom, Solomon should be taken with a gain of salt, Paul is easily misunderstood, but Jesus, he’s my guy. Being my Lord and Savior, you know.

    So Jesus said, “Give to everyone who asks of you.”

    When I really looked at that command, REALLY looked, that was a difficulty.  I mean, what if someone asks for my house?  What if someone asks for my car?  Another translations says, “Give to those who beg,” but the Greek word isn’t “beg”, it’s the most common word for “ask” or “request.”   In the context, Jesus is talking about loving enemies and his emphasis is to give to everyone, without exception.

    So I tried it out.

    Every person who held a sign, I gave to.  If they asked for money, I gave them that.  If they asked for food, I gave them that.  If a person asked for my time, I gave them that.  If someone asked for a place to crash for the night, I gave them that.  And sometimes that didn’t turn out well.  A couple people were using drugs in my bathroom.  A couple people took things from my house.

    I needed to think about this, in the context of what Jesus was saying.

    First, Jesus said I had to love everyone, without exception.  That meant my family too.  So there were people in my household (family and non-family) whom I am required to care for, but if I harm their well-being by helping others, that isn’t so great.  That isn’t loving everyone.  So I can fail to keep Jesus’ command by obeying Jesus’ command.  This requires wisdom.  So I only invited people in my house whom I knew wouldn’t harm others in the house.

    Second, Jesus said I had to love.  Not all giving is loving.  When we pray to God, he doesn’t give us what we ask for all the time. He gives us “every good and precious gift”.  Only good things, not things that would harm us.  A loaf of bread, not a snake.  So we need to give in the same way.  I needed to make sure that what I gave benefited the other person, not just whatever they asked for.  This also requires wisdom.

    To give according to love requires listening and paying attention to other people.  What do they really need?  What are they really asking for?  Jesus himself did this when he didn’t just heal a blind man, but asked him, “What do you want?”  Giving isn’t a one way street.  It begins with a dialogue.

    Often I can give to make me feel good.  I need to give to truly benefit the other in front of me.  Sometimes I can get some food from a local store and that’s enough.  But most of the time, my giving requires more work and wisdom than that.

    But I realized in giving

  9. A New Era for Anawim

    de9_neighbortentOn January 28, 2018 Anawim Christian Community joined Advocacy5 in establishing a place for homeless people to obtain some stability and to connect to the tools they need to get off the street.

    On February 2, 2018, the city of Portland shut down this community and took all of our possessions.

    The reason they took it is because we placed the village on public land.  The land in which the village was placed already had fifty or more houseless folks whom we had been serving by bringing food.  We collected and disposed of more than twenty large bags of garbage, established low-impact platforms and placed a few houseless in the village while we waited for the city to respond.

    The city responded by sending rangers and police to escort us off the property with the threat of being arrested, and taking all we had established.

    As a society, we need to find alternatives to many cities’ action of sweeps and harassment of homeless folks.  Like all kinds of oppression, it is our responsibility as followers of Jesus, who set people free from oppression, to stand and provide other opportunities.  Village of Hope is one of those opportunities, a piece of harm reduction and stability for those who know only crisis and harassment, everyday.  It is a work of Jesus, showing our city and the world how love can conquer poverty.

    We need your help.  The ACLU has taken interest in our work and they might be able to stop the city from forcing us to be swept.  But we need more signatures on this petition to prove public support of our action.  Please sign this petition.  If you can help us in any other way, please send us an email to


  10. Anawim Revived!

    sunflowerHonestly, it’s been a tough year for Anawim.

    We lost our home for the houseless, the RedBarn, which we have hosted meals, day shelters and overnight shelters at since 1995.  The property has been sold to another local congregation and we pray that God would bless them with the property on which he blessed us for so many years.  We also want to thank the Pacific NW Mennonite Conference who allowed us to have the RedBarn as our home for so many years, and remained patient through our difficulties and discussions with neighbors and city.  And thanks especially to Amanda, Lisa and Larry who worked hard to transition us when Steve was out of commission.

    We’ve still been hard at work, though.

    -We continued to deliver three thousand pounds of food weekly to camps of houseless folks in East Multnomah County.  We have a team of people delivering food, blankets, clothes and other supplies to those in need.
    -Steve has a weekly Bible Study in Gresham located at East County Church of Christ.  We are currently going teaching the Sermon on the Mount. If you would like to see some of the teaching, it is available at:

    And now we are approaching our next project, beginning January 20.

    Just as a quick note: this project isn’t to be made public until January 22, but we are so excited about it, we want to tell you now.

    Anawim is in partnership with other houseless advocacy groups, Advocacy5, Right 2 Survive, Village Coalition and Boots on the Ground  (all of whom we have been working with for more than two years) to begin a new, organized homeless camp!

    Let me explain:

    For decades, houseless folks would be forced to move about two or three times a year, when city officials asked police officers to give them warning and then force them to move.  It was an annual tradition, usually in the fall and in the spring.   Since 2016, however, both Gresham and Portland established offices to constantly move houseless folks all around the county.  These offices have now hired private firms to do this work, for which they get paid all year round, even throughout the winter.

    Some additional services have been provided, such as getting apartments and a couple hundred more shelter beds, but this is not much help compared to the need of thousands of people on the street.  And with the constant “sweeps” of houseless folks throughout the county, live is more stressful and more difficult to go through the bureaucracy to obtain services or housing.

    Anawim and the other advocacy groups will be providing an opportunity to change that.  We want to establish a camp where houseless folk can live long term without being swept and we would provide assistance to obtain the services that are available, with the goal being that each person would leave the camp to their own housing and a life of hope.

    We see this as participating in Jesus’ ministry of releasing people from oppression and providing healing.  We will provide counselling for trauma, mediation for conflict and helping people fill out forms and keep appointments.  This is the natural outgrowth of the work we did at the RedBarn.  There, we provided a space for people to meet with agencies, to rest, to work, to get cleaned and to prepare for continuing their life.  In this camp, we will provide safety and direction, helping people specifically meet their own goals of health and a better life.

    We need your prayers to make this happen.  And we need some help to establish the camp.

    The camp will have platforms and heat and a kitchen and a community room.  We need help establishing this model.  If you would like to help, we could use finances.  Or you could provide gift cards to Lowes, Fred Meyers, Home Depot, Safeway or Walmart.  Please help if you are able.  If you’d like to give to our PayPal account, go to this link:

    And please pray.  This is exciting and some people are not interested in seeing houseless people helped in this way.  We need God’s help to provide a place of Jesus’ peace and mercy.  Thanks.

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