Lutheran churches provide shelter in winter

first_imgIt’s the middle of winter, so St. Paul and St. Andrew Lutheran churches open their doors each night to house homeless people, as they have every winter for 15 years. A few other local churches shelter people on especially miserable nights. Two of those churches are also Lutheran.Yet another Lutheran church has been instrumental in opening a severe-weather shelter at the Washougal Community Center. While people of many faiths and no faith are involved in serving the homeless, particularly through the Winter Hospitality Overflow shelter program, the number of local Lutheran churches offering their buildings stands out.Being a good neighbor and sharing with them is a tenet of the Lutheran faith.“Sometimes what keeps people from sharing is a fear that there isn’t enough to go around,” said Charlene Welch. “In our Lutheran tradition, we strive to follow the belief that we have all we need because it comes from God. Therefore, we are free to share.”Welch belongs to Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Vancouver. She also works at the local Council for the Homeless, which has been training churches and volunteers how to run overnight shelters. The agency fields calls from people seeking shelter and decides when the weather is bad enough to necessitate adding more beds. Living Hope Church, a nondenominational Christian church, and Beautiful Savior Lutheran are used most often.There have been 17 times this winter when severe weather was called. Last winter, there were 56 severe-weather days.‘Realm of God’s grace’Despite its small size — perhaps 55 people attend Sunday services — the Rev. Adrienne Strehlow’s church voted to become a severe weather shelter.last_img

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