Monday, June 29
Presbytery of Milwaukee
The bitter cold of Wisconsin winters is even harder on those who live in alleyways or wooded river beds or have overstayed their welcome on a friend’s couch. Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church, in the urban Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee, saw just how few resources were available to folks on the southeast side who needed a safe, warm place to sleep during the sometimes deadly winter cold.
Pastor Karen Hagen recalls the conversations that led the 60-member congregation to start the Divine Intervention mission. “We could have organized a planning committee and talked about reasons why we shouldn’t do it and why it might not work out,” says Hagen. “Instead, we saw it as an opportunity with dignity and service at its core. And we went for it.”
What began as all-night prayer vigils—after initial plans for a cold-weather shelter were blocked by local government—has grown into a year-round ministry in collaboration with more than 35 faith communities, various social service agencies, and hundreds of volunteers.
Throughout the winter, guests are invited to overnight prayer vigils and a warming room. Additionally, dinners are served year-round every Friday at various Bay View area churches. The Garden Keepers program offers two guests an opportunity to participate in community gardening from April to October as part of Tippecanoe’s hunger ministry, just.good.food. Other guests help to grow, glean, and give away fresh produce to the local hungry.
Larry, who came to Tippecanoe as a guest, began an additional mission, Larry Under the Bridge, which serves local campers and the homeless. Each week, program volunteers deliver bagged dinners and basic hygiene supplies to neighbors living on the streets.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for this place,” Larry says. “They kept me here and helped me to get sober. It helped me want to be sober.”
The Presbytery of Milwaukee is home to 44 congregations.
—Erica Weber, member, Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church, Milwaukee
Let us join in prayer for:
Rev. Marilyn Gamm, chair, PMA Board
Craig M. Howard, executive director of strategic partnerships
Willem P. Houts, stated clerk
Sarah C. Rand, congregational care coordinator
Detlef Pavlovich, treasurer
Christine S. Halverson, office manager / associate stated clerk
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Living, loving God, bless us with discomfort at easy answers, so that we may witness your love for every homeless person we meet. And bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world. Amen.