Day 5 – December 27, 2010 – Church Doors Open

Start from the beginning

Church Doors Open

I’m sitting in the St. James Anglican church again.  The doors were open, so I entered.  I don’t know what it is about this place, but I feel very welcome each time I step through these doors.  I am going try the Buddhist temple next.

This time, however, the sermon drew only four people.  One of the men, who were sitting in the back row, looked distressed and was in tears.  I am not sure why he was crying, but I felt moved by his sadness.  I regret not going up to him, but then again, he may have wanted to be left alone.  Based on this man’s appearance, he could have been homeless.  He was probably here to connect to something he felt was missing in his life.  Many seek religious institutions to repent or to find that missing connection.  Either way, I felt helpless while wanting to help.

The man leading today’s sermon was Father John.  I had a chance to talk to him after.  He said he was actually a monk.  I said, “You must have a really tough job in this neighborhood”.  He replied with a smile and accepted the challenge.

He continued talking about Father Matthew.  There are four priests that run this church.  Father Matthew received special attention.  It was because he’s the only priest that knows every homeless or impoverished person by name around here.  He walks in the alleys and shakes hands with everybody in the Downtown Eastside.  He is famous for this.  I remember meeting him yesterday.  He saved my name in his phone.

I have a feeling that I’ll be back here sometime in the future.  This church is real.  The priest’s actions show that they are making effort in improving this place for the people who seek help.  But for now, it is time to move onto the next location.

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