Refuge is a word that is not used a whole lot in our every day experience. For the most part many of us experience a sense of security and safety as we go through our day. It is a shock when something happens to shatter or at least shake the foundations of our sense of security.

Looking here in Jefferson County, where do you sense Refuge might be found?

Is your home a place of refuge? Your church? Your neighborhood?

I would wager large sums of money that most of us feel safe and secure in our neighborhoods and homes. Life may not be easy. The stress of job, family and responsibility can weigh heavily upon us, especially at this time of year. But home is always that place where we come to find rest and safety before heading back out into the world.

In this season of Christmas I want to take just a moment to remember the meaning of Refuge. The dictionary says refuge is a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger or trouble. The Bible tells us that “You (speaking of God) have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.” Isaiah 25:4 NRSV

Severe Weather Shelter Network is a place of Refuge for people experiencing homelessness in Jefferson County and west Arapahoe County. At this time there is no other shelter in these communities. No other place of refuge for people seeking to find a “condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger or trouble” as the dictionary indicates.

The Christmas story reminds us that Mary and Joseph were looking for a place of refuge as well. Mary was well into her labor when they arrived in Bethlehem. They needed a place to be safe and warm while Mary delivered Jesus into the world. The Inn was full. There was no place they could go…until the Inn keeper directed them to the stable as the last option. In the midst of the animals, in the warmth of clean hay, our Savior was born. In that moment, the stable was a place of refuge for Joseph’s family.

As you contemplate what Christmas means for you and your family I invite you to consider how you will help provide Refuge for our brothers and sisters living on the streets. Not just during the holiday season…but in an on-going way.

How can you be part of bringing Refuge to Jefferson County? 

You can volunteer your time. We have particular needs for overnight hosts, drivers and phone volunteers.

Contact Tracy Thayer for more information at tracy@swshelternetwork.com

You can provide material resources. At this time of year our guests can always use hand and feet warmers, men’s and women’s underwear, and heavy winter gloves.

Contact Lynn Ann Huizingh for more information at lynnann@swshelternetwork.com

You can provide financial support according to your means. We are excited to provide a number of links to assist you in supporting Severe Weather Shelter Network this season: (all tax deductible gifts must be dated December 31st to be included in your 2018 tax return)

Colorado Gives link to Severe Weather Shelter Network 

Severe Weather Shelter Network donate page

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You can always send your check via USPS if that is most comfortable for you. Please send all written communications and checks to:

Severe Weather Shelter Network, PO Box 620546 Littleton CO 80162

Christmas is a reminder for us that Refuge is available. We find our refuge in the arms of God as He leads us through each day and each situation. Our guests find refuge and the experience of God’s love given through our volunteers each time we are open.

Thank you for taking just a few minutes to listen and respond to God’s invitation for you to participate in bringing Refuge in the truest sense of the word to people experiencing homelessness on the streets this winter season.

 

Lynn Ann Huizingh

Executive Director