Anawim Christian Community


3733 N Williams Ave
Portland, OR 97227
503.888.4453
AnawimCC@gmail.com
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  1. Life Isn’t Free in Portland

    Homelessness in PortlandLife is free. Our mothers and fathers gave it to us, freely offering their joy and pain.

    Air is free. We breathe in and out our basic life sustaining force without a bill.

    Love is free. If someone’s care and devotion is a tit-for-tat we might call it “desire” or “lust” but not love.

    Water and sunlight are free. God freely pours down from the sky to all what we need to survive.

    So, City of Portland, why do you say that unless we pay for sleep, we might be ticketed or even arrested? Why harass and criminalize the homeless because they are trying to sleep? Sleep is a natural process, one that all of us do without exception, so why punish us for it?

    Without a night of sleep, our mind is slow, as if we were drunk.
    Longer lack of sleep causes extreme sensitivity to stress and pain.
    Lack of sleep causes mental instability.
    A longer time without sleep leads to hallucinations.
    To still be without sleep risks death.

    IMG_20140326_172531Well, perhaps sleep is a bad thing, but only in public, like sex or urination.
    Because we know how disgusting it is to watch a baby sleep.
    Or a child. I’m sure everyone is offended by watching a student fall asleep at a computer at a library. I don’t think anyone complains about a businessman, exhausted, fall asleep at a bus stop.

    No, what sweeps really are is a punishment of the poorest people in our city. It communicates how the city despises them, and are willing to treat people unjustly for doing what we all must do: sleep. They are being punished because they do not have a paid-for place to sleep in, as if they are destroying the rest of our livelihood, just by sleeping in public.

    Charlie Hales, Police Chief O’Dea, City Council: This is your legacy to the future: injustice, preventing people from having that which they need to sustain their lives. Your prejudice against the poor will be the most important aspect of your policies, that which will be remembered for all time.

    If you would like to call Mayor Charlie Hales to protest the ticketing and harassment of the homeless who are just trying to find a place to sleep, then call his voicemail line: 503-823-4120. If you’d like to send a message to the city council, send an email to Nick Fish: Nick@portlandoregon.gov

  2. The Call

    All of time and spaceJesus wants you.

    He doesn’t want to simply own you, to retain you as a possession he would keep on a shelf. He wants to transform you to be a vessel for his love, love that you will pour out on others in need.

    Will you listen to his call? He is not calling you to misery, but a life of joy-filled compassion and heroic sacrifice. He is asking you to step up and change the world, one powerful act of love at a time.

  3. Three Important Announcements

    1.
    After prayer and consideration, it is determined that Anawim will no longer be hosting a meal/meeting in the St. John’s area. This is not because we love our people in St. Johns– we certainly do! But we do not have the volunteers to keep it running. We fully support Nick and Rebecca Floyd and Nightwatch as they continue their work in providing meals and spiritual support for the homeless. We are also open to providing any assistance for other congregations who would like to open up a meal or day shelter for those in need in North Portland.

    God bless all of you in St. Johns!
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    2.
    Sanctuary in Gresham is offering an open house to all in Gresham who are interested in finding out more about our work among the homeless.

    We will provide a BBQ and a tour of the facility at 1pm on Friday May 30. Anyone who is interested, please attend!

    19626 NE Glisan, Gresham.

    3.
    Our official re-opening date will be Wednesday, June 3. We will be open from 1pm to 8pm and have a BBQ at 5. There will be showers, free clothes, hamburgers, socks and more!
    19626 NE Glisan Gresham

  4. Finding Sanctuary by Mary Anne Funk

    In a blink of an eye, our life can change and take us down a path we never imagined we could ever be on.

    Finding Sanctuary  Pat prepares a meal for herself and others, using the Anawim Christian Community's Sanctuary kitchen.  Photo by Mary Anne Funk

    Above: Pat prepares a meal for herself and others, using the Anawim Christian Community’s Sanctuary kitchen. Photo by Mary Anne Funk

    Pat never expected to be homeless. Like many of us she never thought it could happen to her. She had a steady self-contracting business for over 11 years. She was always able to cover her expenses and while she didn’t have a lot in savings, she had some money put aside. But on December 8, 2013 after an accident in which she was hit by a motorist left her with a disability and after a series of incidents that were out of Pat’s control, she found herself homeless and penniless, living out of her car with her three dogs.

    While living out of her car, Pat found sanctuary, community, hope, and purpose with Anawim Christian Community, in Gresham. Although at times her sanctuary has been disturbed by the police and by the housed community, located near the Anawim sanctuary. At times her hope challenged with continuous events that have occurred while she was already at a low point in her life. At the time of the photo, above, Pat was living out of a tent on the sanctuary’s grounds. She began staying in a tent in an area of the sanctuary, after her car broke down.  It was towed because she couldn’t afford to fix it or move it.

    Pat was able to pitch her tent on the Anawim Christian Community Church grounds and up until recently, she was able to stay there without moving her tent. However, due to city wide crack downs on no camping law ordinances, and complaints from the local home associations located around the Church, in regards to them letting the homeless community sleep on the grounds, the Church was cited for letting anyone camp on the Church grounds for more than 72 hours. Anawim is currently working through things with the city and the neighborhood associations so they can continue to provide a place of sanctuary.

    If we cannot find sanctuary at a Church, where can we find sanctuary?

    Soon after leaving the Church grounds, a heavy wind destroyed Pat’s tent, leaving her and her dogs without shelter again. While staying on the church grounds, Pat had safety and rest.

    She is a mother like figure to others around her. Pat is doing her best to get back on her feet and trying to survive on the streets while waiting to have what she needs to get back into an apartment. She is no longer able to work in the same capacity that she did before her accident. She is waiting for disability and she is currently volunteering time at Anwim in exchange for some of her needs being met.  She is a lead volunteer in the clothing closet and often times prepares meals for the other volunteers and the homeless community who come to Anawim.

    Below: Hear Pat’s story: In this clip Pat talks about her breaking point that led to her being homeless and the uncertainty of where she will stay at this moment in time.

    Video Interview Location: Anawim Christian Community Sanctuary
    Video and Interview by Mary Anne Funk

    If you would like to help Pat with a tent or a place to stay with her dogs, please contact Anawim Chistian Community to see how you can help her and others. Pat could also use a trailer for her bike so she can carry her belonging and her dogs.

  5. Shoes

    Martin worshipping
    Guest post by Dan Mosley
    My first winter in Oregon on a Sunday, it was dark when I got up hurriedly to get dressed and ready for church.  At last, late as usual, I reached under my bed and slipped my shoes on quickly, and was out the door with Martha.  When we got there in the back row, there was a stranger sitting beside me who appeared to be hearing impaired.  He sang loudly and off key.  He smelled bad.  His clothes threadbare.  But, as he sat next to me, the oddest thing about him was his shoe.  He wore worn out old brown loafers.
    When it was time to leave, we greeted each other.  I could not help but glance awkwardly down.  And that’s when the Lord dealt with me.  You see, in the dark I had put on one of my old worn out shoes while I also put a new dress shoe on the other foot.
    Moral of the story: Be careful how you look down on other people.  One day the shoe may be on the other foot.
  6. Nice Guys Finish Last

    PickHowie2Based on a true story.  Names have been changed.

    Tremaine was the nicest guy you’d ever meet.   He was always gentle, always generous, always kind.  No one could say a word against him.  Occasionally he would sleep behind the courthouse, and when the police saw him there, they tried to move him on.  The secretaries who worked in the courthouse would tell them to leave Tremaine alone, and the police would shrug and leave him alone.

    There was, however, one man who had bad things to say about Tremaine.  That was his drinking buddy, James, who was a nasty drunk.  Pleasant when he was sober, but when he got drunk, he would become abusive.  He would lay into Tremaine, who would say nothing, just sit and take it.  He would talk about how Tremaine stole, how Tremaine beat people up, how Tremaine judged people, but it was never true.  Tremaine just smiled and let James get worked up, never defending himself, until James got so angry that he would hit Tremaine, in vengeance of his many “wrongs”.

    Over time, James realized that he had a serious problem, sobered up and got a job.  But Tremaine stayed on the street.

    He would stay behind the local church a few times a week, where the janitor would buy donuts every morning and give them to Tremaine and his friend Donny.   Donny never left Tremaine’s side, because he was concerned about Tremaine’s horrifying blood pressure.  At times Tremaine’s blood pressure got so high that he would collapse and had to be taken directly to the hospital.  Donny would make sure he got to the hospital, and the doctors would save Tremaine’s life, as they did so many times.  Then they would release Tremaine back to the street, where he would find Donny behind the church.

    Eventually, Suzie, the janitor at the church, invited Tremaine and Donny to permanently stay behind the church.  They didn’t have any formal permission from the church, but Suzie would make sure that no one gave them any trouble.  She continued to get them donuts and coffee every morning, and asked them to do some clean up.  The guys would be glad to do whatever they were asked, as long as their health allowed.

    Donny was often in pain because of his hip.  He had a replacement hip a decade ago, and it had worn out.  However, his insurance wouldn’t allow him to get another replacement hip, so he often walked in pain, sometimes all night long, because he couldn’t rest on the concrete.  But he and Tremaine had a good time behind the church, comfortable and safe.

    They would often visit the local park, where many other homeless folks hung out, especially young people.  Tremaine was known as “grandpa” because his large grey beard make him look older than he was.  The high school homeless kids would hang out and drink and Tremaine would make sure that they didn’t come to harm.  If the police came to harass them, Tremaine would always take the brunt of their anger, allowing the kids to leave.

    Once a couple of the kids had nowhere to sleep, so they asked Tremaine where he stayed.  Tremaine offered them a place to crash for the night.  The kids slept next to Tremaine and Donny that night and the next.  And some more kids came.  And a couple more.  Eventually, a group of kids set up a tent in front of the church, where they would use drugs, drink and have a party all night.  Finally, the pastor of the church, took the situation in hand and told everyone they had to leave.  The kids in the tent were so angry that they vandalized the church before they left.

    Tremaine and Donny, having nowhere else to go, went to a local mall, and slept in the wind and rain.  A local Christian man, who had known Tremaine a number of years, became concerned after his latest bout in the hospital.  Frank asked him if he’d like to come live in his house.  Tremaine couldn’t drink in the house, but he’d have a safe place to sleep and he could eat the food in the house.  All he’d have to do is to work for Frank, helping his friends on the street one day a week.

    Tremaine wasn’t sure.  He had relied on alcohol for years to keep him sane and forgetful about his miserable life.  He wasn’t sure he wanted to leave his friends whom he helped on the street, including Donny.  Donny and the kids on the street begged Tremaine to take Frank up on his offer.  Everyone was concerned that Tremaine wouldn’t be able to live long, given his terribly high blood pressure.  No one wanted to see him die.  But Tremaine wasn’t sure.

    Tremaine remembered that he had quit drinking years ago.  Just one day stopped, and didn’t touch it.  He worked as a gas jockey then, and he didn’t make a good living, but he made a living.  Then he lost his job, and then his apartment.  He started to live on the street, and became unkempt.  As he was sitting in the park with his friends, he looked over and saw his sister, playing with her kids.   He smiled as he approached her, as they hadn’t seen each other for a couple years.  She looked up, recognized him, didn’t say a word, but picked up her kids, took them to the car and drove away.   After seeing her reaction to him, Tremaine turned around to his friend James, pointed at his 40-ouncer and said, “Give me that.”  He drank the whole bottle.  And the next one.

    He realized that he had people who cared about him.  Really cared.  Donny.  The kids.  Suzie.  Frank.  They all wanted to see him live.  He couldn’t care less.  But he would live for them.  Quitting drinking wasn’t so hard.  And Frank said that he’d drive him to see his friends every week.  So Tremaine agreed.

    Living in a house is something to get used to, but it was comfortable.  Tremaine could live his quiet, gentle life.  His blood pressure eventually went down as his stress went down.  He went out every week and worked in a church and saw his homeless friends. And eventually, Donny moved into the house as well.  Life wasn’t so bad after all.

  7. Basic Statistics About Homelessness

    CampOn a given winter night in 2013, the point in time survey found that there are 610,000 homeless people in the United States, sleeping on the street, vehicles or temporary shelters.

    Throughout any given year, there are approximately 3.5 million people who become homeless in the United States, which is about one percent of the total population.

    About 2/3 of the homeless population are male, 1/3 female.

    22 percent of the homeless are under 18.

    About 25 percent of the homeless are families of three or more.

    64 percent of the homeless are single individuals.

    Homeless populations tend to rise in the summer.

    41 percent of the homeless are black.

    37 percent of the homeless are white.

    10 percent of the homeless are Hispanic.

    There are different kinds of homelessness:

    Couch surfing (staying with friends or family)

    In a shelter, temporarily (6 months or less)

    Living in an RV or vehicle

    Sleeping on the street/camping

    Although there are different stresses in each of the kinds of homelessness, what they all have in common is the uncertainty of how long one might be able to stay in any given place.  At any moment, in each of these situations, a person may be told to move out, with little or no notice.

    Approximately 70 percent of all homeless people get off the street in two months or less.

    Only about ten percent of all homeless folks are “chronically” homeless, for a year or more.

    The length one is homeless is a serious issue.  The stress of homelessness is akin to being in a home with an abusive person.  One isn’t abused all the time, but the stress of the potential of abuse is always there.  Even so, a homeless person may not be forced to move all the time, or to be attacked, or to be yelled at, but the stress of it is there always.  Thus, just as there is a difference between someone who has lived in a home with an abused person for a month, as opposed to two years, so the same with the homeless.  The longer one lives with the stresses of homelessness, the more likely someone is to have severe mental health issues, cognitive issues, addictions, chronic health problems and other issues related to stress.

    Most important medical issues of the homeless:

    PTSD– It is determined that up to 95 percent of all the homeless have experienced trauma.

    Untreated dental issues

    Untreated cuts or injuries

    Chronic diseases

    Respiratory illness

    Hypothermia

    Dehydration

    A person is three times as likely to die on the street than in housing.

    Statistics from: National Coilition for the Homeless; National Alliance to End Homelessness; the 2010 Annual Report on Homelessness to Congress; The 2013 Point in Time Homeless Count; The Homeless Hub; National Student Campaign against Homelessness and Hunger.

  8. Volunteer | Genevieve Cochran | Photo Essay and Audio Interview by Mary Anne Funk

    Anawim Christian Community Volunteer: Genevieve Cochran.
    Photo Essay and audio interview by Mary Anne Funk

    Meet Genevieve Cochran, a lady with a heart of gold and an energy level that most 18 year olds can’t keep up with.  Genevieve was a volunteer with Anwaim Christian Community for the last two and a half years.

    Genevieve comforts Paloma during the meal service in St. Johns, Oregon. Paloma wasn't feeling well that day. Photo - Mary Anne Funk

    Photo – Mary Anne Funk
    Genevieve comforts Paloma. Paloma wasn’t feeling well that day.

    Over this last year, I have gotten to know this woman and have learned so much from her. She is filled with wisdom, determination, love, and empathy.

    Everyone Genevieve met at Anawim, was left feeling loved and respected by her. She is driven by a desire to help others and a calling she says comes from God. “This is God’s ministry, ” Genevieve told me several times. “The people on the street are God’s people”

     

    February 4, 2015<br> Photo by Mary Anne Funk<br> Genevieve Cochran asks Pastor Steve Kimes of Anwaim Christian Community, what he has room for in his van as they prepare to head over to St. Johns, for their Wednesday meal service. February 4, 2015 – Photo by Mary Anne Funk
    Genevieve Cochran asks Pastor Steve Kimes of Anwaim Christian Community, what he has room for in his van as they prepare to head over to St. Johns, for their Wednesday meal service.

    For the last two and a half years, Genevieve spent 8-10 hours a week traveling in her van, which has worked just as hard as she has, as she volunteered with Anawim Christian Community.  “It’s an old beater,” Genevieve said, “but it has done a fabulous job for us and gotten food to people who need it: both in St. Johns and Gresham and carrying maybe 800 lbs. a week from the food bank to the Church. Considering it is 25 years old, it is amazing.” “Us elderlies are doing well,” she finished saying laughingly.

     

    Genevieve began volunteering with Anawim Christian Community in June of 2012, after following them for over a year online.

    Genevieve serving and spending time with the outdoor ministry that was started by Samantha and Timothy Childress. Photos courtesy of Steve Kimes and Childress Photos courtesy of Steve Kimes and Samantha Childress
    Genevieve serving and spending time with the outdoor ministry that was started by Samantha and Timothy Childress.

    One morning she woke up in Washington State and heard God saying, “O.K. you’ve been following these folks for over a year, it’s time for you to get off your duff.” That is just what she did. She became involved with Anawim through Timothy and Samantha Childress when they were serving sandwiches and bottled water to the homeless community, at a park in St. Johns.  Genevieve began bringing additional food to go with the sandwiches, and when the cold weather hit, Genevieve began bringing hot soup.

    Over the last two and a half years, she donated her time to a majority of programs and services that Anawim provides.

    Photo by Mary Anne Funk <br>Genevieve and Steve pick up food items from The Birches. Photo by Mary Anne Funk
    Genevieve and Steve pick up food items from The Birches.

    She went with Pastor Steve Kimes to the gleaners on a weekly basis. The food that is picked up from the gleaners is distributed to the homeless community and working poor community whom Anawim serves in North Portland and Gresham and to other organizations who are working with communities in need.

     

    Genevieve Cochran sorts clothes that were left in front of the red barn at the Anawim Sanctuary in Gresham, Oregon Photo: Mary Anne Funk
    Genevieve sorts clothes that were left in front of the red barn at the Anawim Sanctuary in Gresham, Oregon

    She donated countless hours to Anawim’s weekly clothing closest, in Gresham, and she managed to get it fully organized and to the point of sustainability.

    January 14, 2015  Genevieve stirs the spaghetti she prepared for the Anawim meal service in St. Johns January 14, 2015 – Photo by Mary Anne Funk
    Toby, left, sets up the serving table as Genevieve stirs the spaghetti sauce and noodles that she prepared for the Anawim meal service in St. Johns

    Every week she prepared multiple meals and delivered them to the meal services in Gresham and St. Johns, where she would also sit and eat and talk with the community members who came for the services and meals.

    God has blessed her Spirit with the gift of taking care of others.

    Genevieve Cochran receives love from the other event volunteers at today's Free Back to School Clothing Giveaway at the Anawim Sanctuary in Gresham. It was an event that required much planning with little time to do it. "We only had five weeks to pull this together and this couldn't have happened without my volunteers, two who are homeless" said Genevieve Cochran. Left to Right: Amber, Genevieve, Pat, Barb, Kristi Photo by Mary Anne Funk
    Genevieve Cochran receives love from the other event volunteers at the Free Back to School Clothing Giveaway at the Anawim Sanctuary in Gresham. It was an event that required much planning with little time to do it. “We only had five weeks to pull this together and this couldn’t have happened without my volunteers, two who are homeless” said Genevieve Cochran.Left to Right: Amber, Genevieve, Pat, Barb, Kristi

    Genevieve recently moved from Oregon to Tennessee where she will live and take care of her son who is in renal failure. She is a constant in our society and continuously taking care of others. During our interview, I asked Genevieve, you take care of everyone else, who takes care of you? “God” she said in a quiet tearful voice, “He is there, always”

    Genevieve, God used you in Portland in a mighty way and I know He will continue to use you in Tennessee. Anawim thanks you for the years you volunteered with the community and for being a constant in our society. We miss your energy and Spirit here in Portland.

    I recently had a chance to interview Genevieve, while riding in her van on our way to help her prepare for her move.  Listen to her interview in which she shares what she has learned, what she will miss, and what her hopes are for Anawim.

    If you are moved by anything in Genevieve’s interview or you have any stories you’d like to share about Genevieve, please share in the comments.