Those Remembering the Homeless will Gather at Cranford Church for a Homeless Memorial Vigil
On December 21, 2017, at 7:00 p.m., a group of non-profit agencies and interfaith congregations will gather at The First Presbyterian Church in Cranford for a second annual Homeless Memorial Vigil.
This event, which is open to the public, is held on the day with the least amount of daylight and the longest night. This day has been chosen as a time to remember all homeless people who died on the cold streets or living in dangerous abandoned buildings during the past year due to their lack of shelter or care.
“As people of faith, no matter what our religious tradition or the House of Worship we attend, it is our responsibility to make serving those in need, especially the homeless, a priority within our congregations,” said Skip Winter of First Presbyterian Church in Cranford.
Organizers of the Homeless Sabbath weekend include:
- Community Access Unlimited,
- Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless,
- Family Promise Union County,
- Gateway Family YMCA,
- Iris House,
- Monarch Housing Associates, and the
- Union County Interfaith Coordinating Council.
Vigil will include a reading of the names of those who died during the past year, music and interfaith readings.
“Dying homeless and anonymous can only be the loneliest way to die. Everyone deserves the dignity of being named and remembered,” said Linda M. Flores-Tober, Executive Director, Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. “By doing this we make them present and redeem ourselves.”
“A homeless person feels invisible; they have not only lost their home, they have lost their place to ‘be’ in the world. To have lived and died unnoticed is heartbreaking and unacceptable. We must do better. At the Vigil, we will recognize those who have perished due to homelessness. Let us continue our vigilance in acknowledging and advocating for those who are currently living in a homeless situation.”
Memorials will also be held in six other communities.
- Essex County – A memorial service will be held from 11 Am t o 3 PM on December 21st at Willing Heart Community Center, 555 Martin Luther King Blvd, Newark NJ. For more information click here for a flyer or email Debra Underwood or call her at 973-395-9160.
- Camden County – A memorial will be held from 11 AM to 1 PM on December 19th at 519-535 West State Street, Camden, NJ. For more information click here for a flyer or email Danielle Orlando or call her at 856-968-2320 x1035.
- Bergen County – A solemn service will be held at 5:30 p.m. on December 21st at Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services, 120 South River Street, Hackensack. Click here for more information.
- Hudson County – A memorial will be held at 1:00 p.m. on December 21st at Old Bergen Church, One Highland Avenue, Jersey City – for more information, click here or send an email.
- Mercer County – A Remembrance Day ceremony will be held 10:00 a.m. on December 21st at Turning Point United Methodist Church, 15 South Broad St., Trenton, for more information click here or call 609-599-9762.
- Middlesex County – A memorial will be held from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on December 21st at VFW Post 9111, 11 Henderson Road, Kendall Park, NJ. For more information click here.
The Vigil in Union County comes on the heels of the second annual Homeless Sabbath Weekend held across Union County held December 15-17, 2017.
On the night of January 24, 2017, 475 people, including 55 people without shelter, experienced homelessness in Union County, according to NJ Counts, the Point-In-Time count. The Homeless Sabbath Weekend organizers believe that no one should be homeless for the holidays or at any time of the year.