This year we celebrate the 5th anniversary of Severe Weather Shelter Network and our 5th annual Refuge from the Cold event. So much has transpired in the last five years! We look forward to sharing some of those highlights with you on November 4th. Today, I want to share regarding the concepts of Refuge, Relationship and Restoration. Our ministry was initially founded with the concept of Refuge. I don’t know that we initially understood the fullness of what we were trying to do… or if we have even yet fully understood it.
Refuge is literally a place of safety. Protection from harm or danger. Every night that we open our church doors to provide a place to spend the night we are in fact providing refuge for our guests. We provide a literal warm space to spend the night that is safe. The outside world and it’s problems are shut out for the night. Our guests are welcomed in and are provided with a hot meal and good fellowship.
Relationships have grown with our guests over the last five years. We have a core group of about 60 individuals for whom we have provided refuge in that time. Each one is a person we have come to know and love. There are many more whom we have sheltered for just a season or two and then they have moved on in their lives. We have grieved the deaths of 10 individuals that we know for sure have passed away on the streets. 16 individuals moved into permanent housing and we celebrated their life change. Over the last summer we began really evaluating the importance of relationship even further. Severe Weather Shelter Network has been developing and growing relationships with community partners. Our relationships with our service provider partners are a critical component to our shelter nights and helping us to provide a place of refuge for our guests. We are so grateful for their partnership! We have begun reaching out to city and county governments to share our story and the stories of our guests. Working together with all community partners allows us to elevate the needs of individuals living on the streets and plant seeds for restoration.
Restoration is literally restoring something that was taken away, returning something to it’s former beauty. Each one of our guests has lost something, or experienced something in their lives that led to their life on the streets. Severe Weather Shelter Network is beginning to understand our calling to be the voice for those that have no voice. We tell the stories of those we shelter to help the greater community understand the need to create a pathway to stability and sustainability for a life off the streets. We are reaching out to our existing partners and new partners to ask the questions about what is missing in our community that prevents individuals living on the streets from taking those next steps. We are persisting in inviting those same organizations, agencies and governments to join us in putting those missing pieces in place not to enable but to empower our guests with tools and resources to take those next steps. Refuge is the beginning of beautiful relationships that ultimately lead to the restoration of a life…and a community. I celebrate all God has revealed in these last five years. I am even more excited to see what the next five years holds! I invite you to join on this amazing journey discovering the depths and realities of Refuge, Relationship and Restoration!
Join us for our November 4th by clicking on Refuge from the Cold . Reserve your space today and celebrate with us…I look forward to welcoming you!