Interfaith Community Gathers to Remember the Homeless Neighbors we have Lost
On December 20. 2018, at 7:00 p.m., a group of non-profit agencies and interfaith congregations gathered at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Plainfield for the third annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Vigil.
This event, which is open to the public, is held on the eve of the day with the least amount of daylight and the longest night, December 21. 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.
The Vigil in Union County comes on the heels of a successful third annual Homeless Sabbath Weekend held across Union County held December 14-16, 2018.
Speakers at the Vigil included.
“More often or not, most of us have the opportunity to say good-bye to friends and family on or after our passing and have closure,” said Pastor Angelo Wildgoose of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Plainfield. “The annual Homeless Vigil offers the opportunity to remember those who pass on the streets. St. Mark’s Parish embraces the opportunity to have a hand in helping God’s children in any way we can.”
Tapinto Plainfield provided coverage of the Vigil including this video and photos.
“And so we pray for them and the others to come, not with pious sadness, but with the hope built on our commitment to bring an end to homelessness. Let them not die in vain; with each candle we light, we call on them to be present to us. With each candle, we light the darkness and call on hope.” said Linda Flores-Tober, of the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless.
On the night of January 23, 2018, 459 people, including 41 people without shelter, experienced homelessness in Union County, according to NJ Counts 2018, 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.
“The housing crisis is a humanitarian issue that we cannot ignore,” says Geleen Donovan, Executive Director, Family Promise of Union County. “Those of us providing homeless shelter and services witness the onslaught of desperation in numbers that are rising on a daily basis.”
The Vigil was organized by caring people from non-profit agencies and interfaith congregations. In addition to Monarch Housing they were:
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