The Little Known Ministry at St. Martin’s

By John Lange

I thought it might be a good idea to let the folks at St. Martin’s know about a ministry that we little mention – if at all. And that of course is our ministry to feed the homeless at the Cathedral four times a year. About six or seven years ago – I can’t remember exactly when – the members of the Saturday Bible Study group decided to practice what the Bible preached; thus in addition to Bible study, we decided to engage in an outreach ministry. It just so happened that the Cathedral was looking for volunteers to serve breakfast to the homeless on the fifth Saturday of the month.  Since there are four such occurrences during the course of the year, we decided to sign up for the job.  So for these many years we have been meeting at church, on the designated Saturday, at 6 a.m. and then carpooling to the Cathedral.  Arriving at 6:30 we set up tables, make coffee and lay out the bread and sweet rolls that we had picked up the night before at the Bread Company.  During the cold winter months we make oatmeal for the guests in the Cathedral kitchen. We also have hard boil eggs and bananas that we brown bag so they have something to eat later on in the day. So from 7:30 to 8:30 we feed between 70 and 150 people (depending on the weather and time of year).  We feed men, women and yes, sometimes children as well. We feed young, old, black and white. Hunger does not discriminate. Afterwards, we clean up and drive back to church. This is not an “angels we have heard on high” ministry. This is “mean streets” work. Some of the guests we serve are high on drugs. Some suffer from mental illness.  When it’s cold out – as it has been of late – many go upstairs to the Cathedral and fall asleep in the pews while Morning Prayer is being said.  The last thing they want to do is go back out into the cold.  Honestly, it’s often hard to find Jesus in their faces. Most are exhausted from sleeping on cold concrete. But then again this is real; this is their world.

In all this I suppose I have cast a rather dark pale on this ministry; but to leave you with that impression is not totally accurate. For I am reminded that there is a light in this darkness. That light is in the smiles revealed and the “thank you’s” expressed by those who are homeless and hungry. That light is in the love of Christ shared from one human being to to another. So we do not judge, we do not condemn. We humbly serve as we are called to do.

In closing I would like to acknowledge the people who, over the course of these many years, have so faithfully served Christ in this ministry. A big THANK YOU and GOD BLESS YOU to all of them:

  • Scott Pattengill
  • Dan Patterson
  • Lynn Patterson
  • Stu Hines
  • Steve Young
  • Mark Warren
  • Jeff Klieve  (deceased)