Our church is struggling with the need to help those that are homeless, thru the REACH program (google it and you won't find supportive articles in the local newspapers), helping them to find housing, providing counseling for the families, a single case worker helps to navigate the the local and state forms for assistance along with parental counseling -to keep children (not at physical risk) with the family. Or simply with food for the day, "give us this day our daily bread" (How many of us have food enough JUST for today ? ) We host this program in our church, because of the Pa state budget fiasco they are struggling both with finances for operation and to meet those needs ( only 2 workers verses over 20 families served this year and countless day to day visitors in need). Our struggle is not with; Should we help them?" the answer is - We do it because it is the right thing to do. there is no other church in our city that provides the services that we have. Our struggle is with those that prey upon those seeking help or those that know of the church and its program and exploit it for their own purposes, using the address to elude consequences of their actions, the location for illegal transactions- believing they are "invisible" to city workers, residents and authorities. They are not.
How do we still maintain our mission of living, and serving Christ's love in our community while discouraging or removing the elements that, by their mere presence, conflict with city and legal authority, putting at risk those who need the services and those that worship at St Stephens. Splitting mauls are wonderful tools - if you are working with wood-
but not with sentient beings. Perhaps there is no clear cut absolute answer - just grace, for today.