Coming into the new year there were two overnights where Elim opened its doors to those experiencing homelessness to serve as a warming house and a place of refuge from the frigid temps. We served a hot meal, showers, seasonal clothing, a warm and safe sleeping environment, friendship… and the love of Jesus. We open our church doors in the name of Jesus because of Christ’s exhortation to love, compassion, and godly work in Matthew 25.
Where do people sleep? The men stayed in the gym and used its shower room/bathroom. The women stayed on the fourth floor in the room where the Unlimited formerly had their ‘store’ and used the third floor women’s showers/bathroom. The hallway door is locked between the gym and the women’s shower area. The men and women were separated at check in and ate/socialized/slept in their respective spaces.
How do we determine when Elim opens its doors for an emergency shelter? When the ambient temperature is single digit or below zero and the prospective wind chill dips to –11 degrees. The reality for many of our community is that they live outdoors no matter the temperature.
What process approves an emergency shelter? Pastor Paul and Pastor Becky are in prayer and close discussion when the possibility of frigid weather exists for opening an emergency shelter. The church calendar is consulted about scheduling concerns and the availability of space. The leadership and Hope Avenue team are then notified as well as the Minneapolis Police Second Precinct. We then notify area churches and social media requesting prayer and volunteers.
Elim, thank you for serving as the Lord’s hands and feet. And thank you to the many who make the emergency shelters possible, especially Mark Gregory and Derren Abendroth.