Pastor welcomes ‘community spirit village’

PORT HADLOCK — While developing shelters alongside one another, no person questioned anybody about their politics. There weren’t any “Where do you occur from?” issues.

And then, mentioned all those volunteers, a village took shape.

On Thursday, the last working day of 2020, the employees — Peter Bonyun, Randy Welle, Judy Alexander, Todd Armstrong and their compatriots — stood right before straightforward structures with area for one human to come in from the storm of homelessness.

Scott Rosekrans, pastor of the Group United Methodist Church, joined the group of supporters to bless Peter’s Spot, the “community spirit village” on the grassy space beside the church.

The full point started only a few of months ago. Led by primary undertaking manager Bonyun, a cadre of volunteers commenced setting up the picket shelters in the area beside another property of worship: the Evangelical Bible Church on San Juan Avenue in Port Townsend.

Five were being designed, brightly painted and provided names these types of as “Sunshine Hut,” “Amethyst Casa” and “Strawberry Cottage.” But even as they worked, the volunteers didn’t know in which the shelters would go.

Welle and Bonyun hailed Evangelical Bible’s pastor, James Lyman, for welcoming the employees on to his church’s land — but that was only momentary.

At Thursday’s blessing ceremony for the shelter village near the Group United Methodist Church in Port Hadlock, volunteer Judy Alexander study Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Kindness.” Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News

It wasn’t until late November that the crew connected with Rosekrans, who also welcomed them. Many thanks to an settlement with the Olympic Neighborhood Action Systems, which has a lease on the property beside Rosekrans’ Local community United Methodist Church, the village had a area to be. 6 a lot more shelters have been constructed on site whilst 1 was created at Port Hadlock’s Group Boat Undertaking.

Now the 12 diminutive residences, weatherproof and lockable, are prepared for individuals to transfer in. They’re Spartan, with bed platforms and no plumbing or kitchen area a separate sanitation device and inevitably a neighborhood kitchen are to be included to the web page.

Bayside Housing Providers will coordinate the village as transitional housing for men and women who’ve been briefly set back — “they just will need a split,” said Bayside situation supervisor Mike Schleckser.

“What I’m seriously excited about is the self-governance,” he claimed, incorporating inhabitants will meet up with weekly to do the job out troubles that occur. The community’s guidelines will consist of “no wild parties, no weapons, no cigarette smoking inside,” he explained.

Peter’s Place is an illustration of Bayside’s “housing first” philosophy: Give folks a secure place to stay and they can start off rebuilding their lives.

Then, “hopefully, they will move up and out,” Schleckser claimed, incorporating, “if we had 50 units, they could all be crammed tomorrow. And there would still be a have to have.”

He called on other religion teams to welcome households this kind of as these, and say “I’ll take 12. Or if you can’t do 12, just take 6. If you simply cannot do 6, then 3. If not a few, then one particular.”

For the duration of Thursday’s blessing ceremony, Rosekrans spoke of Jesus’ teachings about welcoming the stranger. He then study the words of Mahalia Jackson’s “Bless This House”: “Bless this property, O Lord, we pray/ Make it safe by evening and day. Bless these partitions so organization and stout/ Preserving want and difficulties out.”

“Amen!” called a male in the assembly — and then Gary Keister, performing director of Bayside Housing Companies, underscored the concept of the working day.

“We are not at the conclude,” with this village, he claimed.

“We are just commencing.”


Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be attained at 360-417-3509 or [email protected].