Day 2 – December 24, 2010 – After Church

Start from the beginning

Starbucks – 3pm

I waited five hours for the church doors to open.  I even slept on the doorsteps for an hour.   When the doors opened, I finally entered.  I felt a bit out of place.  This large church is located in the west end of downtown, which is a more wealthy area.  To be honest, I am not sure if many homeless people enter this church.

I walked in with my large garbage bag and sat in the back.  I expected a larger crowd.  It is Christmas Eve after all.  But instead, few people attended this service.  Only the first three rows were filled in this over-sized church.  Is it because the service isn’t as good as it used to be, or is it because people do not believe in God anymore?  There must have been a reason to have this church built this size.

I moved to sit closer to the front and put my garbage bag next to me.  Few people acknowledged my existence; others may have felt uncomfortable of my presence.  One thing was for sure, I stood out as the only homeless man there.  Maybe I wasn’t received warmly because I was attending a parents and toddler event?

The priest introduced the puppet show to the kids.  This puppet show mimicked the birth of Christ.  During the puppet show, the priest announced that today was a very special day.  It was the day before Jesus was born.  He said that “three things happen on birthdays.  One, songs are sung.  Two, gifts are given; this must have been the cue to pass around the money tray.  Three, cake is eaten”.  There were mini cupcakes given out at the exit door.

It didn’t take too long for the money trays to be filled.  I couldn’t hear a single coin drop, because everybody was throwing five or ten dollar bills into the tray.  The money tray had no reason to be near me since I had no money to give and I could have been labeled as a potential thief.

On the way out I was asked if there were any cupcakes available.  One of the church members laughed and said “oh so you thought there was cake?  Those are for the kids only”.   It looked like there were enough mini cupcakes to go around.   Two hours ago, while I was sitting at the church’s front steps waiting for the service to begin, a woman offered me a hot chocolate along with a ham sandwich.  But now that I am inside this church, mini cupcakes could not be offered to a homeless man who is turning himself towards God?  And all of this after money trays were stuffed with 5 and 10 dollar bills?

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3 responses to “Day 2 – December 24, 2010 – After Church

  1. I enjoy reading your posts but I find you to be very judgemental, in a negative way, on many occasions. Knowing the cupcakes are for kids only, since they told you, you make a comment that they “could not be offered to a homless man…”. Regardless of the # of extra mini cakes available, they were for kids and has nothing to do with mistreatment of homeless people. Plus, it was your first visit to that church, how do you know there won’t be other kids coming later?

    • Fair enough. I can clear up any confusion below.

      When she said I can’t have cupcakes I said “OK thank you, bye”. I didn’t object to her statement. It was for the kids, and that is fine. I didn’t argue about it. The way the church members addressed the situation was what I was commenting on. They assumed that I was trying to freeload. That comment along with the amount of money they were cashing in during the service, was why I believed that I could have been received warmer and more generously. If they felt like they were going to run out of mini cupcakes, because of the one mini cupcake I was going to have, then they could have walked down the street to buy some more with the hundred dollars they just received in donations. A box of 20 mini cupcakes are maybe worth four dollars.

      When an injured man shows up to a hospital, the doctors should rush to help. I was injured and my hospital was the church. Nobody attended to me. Nobody cared about me. And that hurt is what I am expressing here. When a man turns towards God, it is the priests, monks, mullahs, etc. duty to help them in anyway possible. But nobody wanted to help me.

      I end up going to another church for the first time later on in my journey and I left with COMPLETELY opposite experiences. The other church was very accepting, generous, warm and friendly. All of the priests introduced themselves to me and talked to me on a personal level after the service. As soon as I walked in a woman named Alice came up to me, and introduced herself to me. That church didn’t cash in as much as this church did and it also had nothing to do with me being there for the first time.

      Lastly, I did check this church’s sermon services before entering, and the parent and toddler service was only offered at 2:30pm with no other child related services after.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. I strongly disagree with the other persons commment. I don’t think it is judgemental of him. I think that the church people were being very judgement the first hint of this is how they laughed and said “oh so you thought there was going to be cake”. which can be interpreted by anyone as “oh you only came to this cermony becaue you thought there was going to be free food”

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