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Ministry in a Minute: Sharing the Light of Christ at LOTS — by Joe Williams

If you missed Joe Williams’ wonderful description of the Trinity ministry to Lord of the Streets in Houston, better known as LOTS, here it is. 

I am one of the volunteers involved in Trinity’s ministry to the Lord of the Streets in the downtown area of Houston.  Lord of the Streets, which we refer to as LOTS, is located in the area between the downtown business district and the Medical Center, and they serve a population of homeless and under-served persons in that Midtown area.

Trinity has six teams of volunteers and, in rotation, one of these teams goes down to LOTS each Monday.  We conduct a chapel service based on the Noonday Prayer liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer.  We prepare and serve lunch to approximately 50 persons, and we provide a movie.  This ministry has become known as Movie Mondays at LOTS.

LOTS has become a church of the Episcopal Archdiocese.  Father Capper, the Vicar at LOTS, is working to develop a closer relationship among the clients at LOTS and to build a parish community.  In coordination with Father Capper, we at Trinity are trying to provide movies with some prompting questions which can lead to meaningful conversation.  Father Capper is frequently the leader for that conversation group building a “community” among those who are already coming to LOTS for their health clinic, clothing store, a meal, and other social services provided onsite.

One of our parishioners asked me to share with you success stories of what our ministry achieves.  This is a very good question.  I think we all recognize that homelessness is a complex and multi-faceted challenge in our society.  And I must be honest with you, that our ministry efforts to provide spiritual support, a meal, and brief respite from the cares of the streets, is not, and cannot, be the whole solution to homelessness.  I think we all know that our Trinity teams cannot wholly address the mental health, substance abuse, job skills, education, child care, and general health issues that are part of the equation of homelessness.

However, when we encounter someone and we provide a wholesome meal, when we speak to people with respect, when we show some individual attention, we are serving our fellow man in ways they may not be receiving from others.  When we lead the chapel service in prayers, and psalms and hymns, and we shake someone’s hand, when we look them in the eye and we thank them for their attendance and participation, we are sharing the light and the “community” of Christ.  We are encouraging all of those whom we meet at LOTS to be inspired and to carry that light out and share it in the community they encounter day to day.

And therein is the success of our ministry.  I invite you to come join us in serving others.  I invite you to come “visit” with one of our teams, first time, free of charge, no obligation!  Come, see what we do and see how we both give and receive.