Tonight is the Homelessness Immersion experience our Confirmation youth do each winter. Friday night and into Saturday morning, students spend time:
learning from leaders who help those without permanent housing, people like case workers and social service staff;
experiencing both the simulated challenges associated with securing housing and the very un-simulated challenges associated with moving around the city on public transit with your possessions strapped to your back;
sleeping in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable–yet warm–building at the invitation of Good Samaritans;
eating only what can be easily carried.
It’s an 18 hour experiential learning opportunity. It’s uncomfortable, but the discomfort is not the point.
It’s a collaboration. It requires cooperation between youth ministry staff and volunteer leaders, social agency staff and volunteers (hat tip to both Chicago Lights and Facing Forward To End Homelessness), and the welcoming members of a second church.
It’s not my idea; it was here when I got here. It’s kind of a tradition, one that changes little-by-little over time and yet retains certain core features that make it what it is.
Here’s to learning and bonding and enduring, all for the sake of a world that doesn’t need any more Homelessness Immersions, when all of God’s children have the shelter their human dignity deserves.