A Note From the Pastor
Rev. Barbara Fay
Love INC (In the Name of Christ) of Manistee County has gathered a group of Benzie County church leaders, law enforcement, school representatives and community members to begin to explore the possibility of starting a Safe Harbor for Benzie County. Modeled after Safe Harbor of Manistee County, the Safe Harbor of Benzie County Advisory Committee is hoping to launch a rotating homeless shelter during the winter of 2018. Manistee has had a program for the last four years, last year serving a total of 34 individuals. Some nights they served five or six individuals, sometimes none. But those who have been served have benefited from a safe, warm place to sleep and the company and support of those who are serving them.
I have attended several of these meetings becoming informed as to how the program would be applied here in Benzie County and attempting to understand the responsibilities of being a host site in the rotation. Manistee's Safe Harbor (patterned after Traverse City's program) is NOT a year round shelter, but operational the first Saturday of November through the last Saturday of March.
For the program to be successful, it requires four host sites, rotating one week at a time. Each site requires four volunteers each night—one to greet and check guests in, three for meal prep/serving, and two of those are required to stay overnight. One person needs to be awake at all times. (You can sleep in shifts!) Check-in time is between 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and checkout is 8:00 a.m. the next morning.
I will continue to be a part of the community discussions and plan to share more in depth information to the Frankfort UMC Council in January.
Please pray for those who are homeless in Benzie County. There may not be many, but there are some. For whatever reasons they find themselves homeless at this time in their lives, they need a warm, safe place to sleep at night.
This is the season we give thanks that Mary and Joseph found lodging that Christmas night so long ago. Please pray with me for God to show both the Frankfort and the Elberta churches how they can be a part of the solution.