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altar guild, respite care


Here is the altar ready for the Sunday afternoon common cathedral service. There’s a frontal, made by the first members of this congregation; a wooden bowl with bread; two clear plastic bottles with grape juice. The brown paper bags at this end have small plastic medicine cups that are used for the grape juice (and to collect empties). They’re in stacks of 60, so we know how many communicants we have, approximately.

The altar used for the weekly service started life as a rolling cart for folding chairs. It’s a battered wooden box on wheels, with storage inside. The latch is very high-tech, a fork stuck in the latch instead of a padlock. Here is a picture –I’m afraid providing pictures is not turning out to be efficient, but I’ll keep trying.


I spent part of today at a blood drive-plus-art show; a chance for artists at common art to show and sell their work, if they choose, and an ordinary blood drive. I minded the post-donation table, chatted a little–most, not all of the donors were people working in nearby offices; a few were artists or friends of the artists. And yes, I donated.

In the afternoon Steven and I went to Helen McInnis House–subway plus a long uphill walk. Note to self: drink more than one carton of juice after donating blood if you’re going in for that much exertion. I sat down for a while and managed not to faint, while Steven looked for people; then we went together to the next floor, found two ecclesia members (the cross is easy to spot) and talked with them, then with a couple guys Steve knows who were enjoying sunshine and cigarettes.

McInnis House is unique as far as they and I know. It’s residential, restorative, respite care for homeless. They fund it with Medicare (works pretty well up to 90 days), with donations. Clients need a medical (but not necessarily a physician) referral to enter, and they have to triage, there aren’t enough beds. Many come from hospitals, or they can be referred directly from clinics or even from the street. They may leave, but need re-referral to be readmitted. They’re allowed to leave for medical appointments and for appointments about housing, benefits, meeting with caseworkers. They have to be able to walk, or move around (some in wheelchairs); they don’t get nursing care, no IV’s, but medications are supplied and dispensed, they’re fed and looked after. And ecclesia (among others) gives them pastoral care. Ecclesia staff visit, listen, support, pray, and bring communion. I need to be at common art early tomorrow, but after I’ll try to reflect on what I’m doing and learning about pastoral care. And give some more nuts-and-bolts explanations of what ecclesia is.

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