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Why Sleep Out?

October 9, 2006

I thought the question of “Why participate in Sleep Out Saturday?” would be best answered by groups who participated last year. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

“We connected with SOS as a way to build awareness in our community about homelessness. In the end it was us, the ones who slept out, who had a greater understanding. We wanted, in the smallest way to ‘get it’ when it comes to realizing that thousands of people right here in DuPage county wonder where they’ll find shelter in a storm or from the cold. We slept in our cars and the noise of the raindrops and thunder seemed to be amplified by our car roofs — waking us up every few minutes. We came away from our experience wanting to tell all we met that homelessness is real in our community and that no one should be homeless. We can do something to change it — and we must.” —Kirk Moore, St. Matthew United Church of Christ, Wheaton

“We ended up with nine kids and my husband and I sleeping out. We watched Castaway starting around 10:15 and headed out to the tents after midnight. At one point, after the movie had ended but the rain droned on, one of the kids said, “Do we really have to go out into the rain?” I told her no, we didn’t have to, we did have the option of our parish hall. Another girl spoke, saying, “Hey, you guys, people have paid us because we told them we were going to sleep out. We should really go outside.” And with that, the decision was made. The rain only seemed to vary in intensity, but not stop, and over the course of the evening, we slowly lost sleepers to the indoors.

With our Stewardship Sunday approaching, I was able to use the SOS experience as a plug. Stewardship has to be felt to be meaningful, regardless of whether you feel it physically, emotionally, spiritually, or financially. Standing in my jeans, my sweatshirt, and my down vest, with my non-bed bed-head, I told my congregation that there were many things we enjoy daily that had become instant luxuries for me the night before: beds, extra clothes, enough food, even a roof over our heads. The only every day “item” that I felt would have really hurt me to lose were my friends, who, at that particular moment, were nine teenagers (ok, my husband, too!). If, through our stewardship, we could either prevent others from losing any of these “luxuries” or enable someone to gain one of these luxuries, I suggested that then we would be being good stewards.” Anne Bouchard, Little Home Church by the Wayside, Wayne

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 11, 2006 4:35 pm

    I still feel the same way this year! We’re having an Adult Sunday School class to help raise more awareness this year. I hope many more “get it” and decide to do something too!

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