Join More than Twenty Faith Communities and Homeless Sabbath Organizers in Bringing Awareness of Neighbors Struggling with Homelessness
This weekend, Friday, December 16-Sunday, December 18, 2016, congregations across Union County, New Jersey and beyond are participating in a first annual Homeless Sabbath Weekend.
A group of non-profit agencies and interfaith congregations are encouraging multi-faith congregations in Union County, New Jersey to join them for this multi-faith “call to action.”
Community Access Unlimited, Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, Family Promise of Union County, HomeFirst, Monarch Housing and the Union County Interfaith Coordinating Council are organizing this event on behalf of all people who are homeless in Union County.
“The Homeless Sabbath and Memorial vigil will bring awareness to our community about how so many of our neighbors are struggling with becoming homeless. Our faith calls us to remember our neighbors, work for their well-being, and uphold their dignity,” says Pastor J. David Knecht, DMin, Lead Pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Knecht serves on the planning committee for the Homeless Sabbath and also the Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Vigil to be held at Holy Cross Lutheran on December 21.
On the night of January 26, 2016, 513 people, including 62 people without shelter, experienced homelessness in Union County, according to NJ Counts, the Point-In-Time Count. We believe that no one should be homeless for the holidays or at any time of the year.
“The Homeless Sabbath is a unique opportunity for the interfaith communities in Union County to not only to pray for our homeless neighbors but also to begin to take steps to end homelessness in our community.” said Reverend Howard Bryant.
To date, 23 congregations in Union County will participate in the Sabbath.
Congregations Not in Union County.
- Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth in Convent Station
- St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Bloomfield
- Wyoming Presbyterian Church in Millburn
Click here for a complete list of participating congregations.
Congregations can participate by including prayers and readings in their service(s) held on December 16-18, 2016. On this weekend, congregations will collectively pray for all homeless people and for the commitment to end homelessness in our community. Eighteen congregations have registered for the event to date and many more are expected to join them.
“The weekend of the Homeless Sabbath was selected as it is only a few days prior to the longest night of the year. On the 21st we will be holding a vigil to remember all homeless people who died in the past year because of lack of a place to call home,” said Linda Flores-Tober of the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless.
The Homeless Sabbath weekend aligns with a Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Vigil, hosted by Holy Cross Lutheran Church 639 Mountain Ave. Springfield, NJ, on December 21, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. This is longest night of the year and has been chosen as a time to remember all homeless people who died in the past year due to their lack of shelter or care.