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Sweaty Sheep ministry provides opportunity for recreation, connections

Ryan Althaus of Sweaty Sheep holds a bag of fish fillets. Althaus and other members of the Christian group arranged a fishing trip so that two dozen homeless people could go fishing for the day on Monterey Bay. A cookout followed the fishing excursion. (Photo by Dan Coyro, Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Ryan Althaus of Sweaty Sheep holds a bag of fish fillets. Althaus and other members of the Christian group arranged a fishing trip so that two dozen homeless people could go fishing for the day on Monterey Bay. A cookout followed the fishing excursion. (Photo by Dan Coyro, Santa Cruz Sentinel)

September 10, 2016

Around 40 people, half of whom were homeless, spent a recent afternoon fishing on Monterey Bay aboard a luxury yacht.

The trip was organized by Sweaty Sheep, a PC(USA)-affiliated ministry that uses sports and games to build relationships across socioeconomic groups. The Santa Cruz chapter organized the fishing excursion.

Chris Roberts and his 11-year-old son, Casey both formerly homeless, caught the largest fish and the first fish of the day, respectively. Later they attended a bonfire at Twin Lakes State Beach, where the group barbecued the 70-plus fish they caught.

Roberts said it was the first time he’d gone deep-sea fishing.

“We thought it was a rock, but the rock kept moving,” he said, referring to the 25-pound lingcod he caught.

Before Roberts found work at Santa Cruz’s Homeless Garden Project (www.homelessgardenproject.org) last year, he and Casey had been living in a car. Roberts had just been released from jail, and was recovering from a 20-year drug addiction, he said.

At the garden project, Roberts realized he was good at working with dirt and plants, and everything changed. A Santa Clara County judge was so impressed with his progress that he had $3,600 of fines deleted and charges deemed never incurred, said Roberts.

“I went from looking at three years at San Quentin to being discharged,” said Roberts, who now lives in an apartment with his son.

Ryan Althaus, Sweaty Sheep pastor, said the fishing trip was not so much about fishing as it was about fishing together. Attendees included several local nonprofit leaders and pastors.

“Our idea of interacting with the homeless is sitting on this side of a table and handling food with an ice cream scoop, and serving them,” Althaus said. “We need to eat together.”

Althaus has also been planning a softball league for nonprofits, businesses, and churches, in which each team will include homeless players. He wants people to realize that homeless people are an important part of the workforce and of congregations.

“People have to start realizing these are normal, productive people. They’re human and they’ve got value,” he said.

Kara Guzman, Santa Cruz Sentinel (reposted with permission)
Today’s Focus: Presbytery of San Jose

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff:

Rev. Joey Lee, Executive Presbyter
Rev. John Kelso, Stated Clerk
Edd Breeden, Treasurer
Diane Case, Accountant
Natasha Jackson, Administrative Assistant
Jane Odell, Safe Church Coordinator
Rev. Geoff Browning, Peacemaking Advocate
Ryan Althaus, Hunger Advocate

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Corina Delman, OGA
Alicia Demartra-Pressley, PMA

Let us pray

Christ, we thank you for being the Word made flesh. As you minister to those around you through touch, sight, and sound, teach us to make use of our whole selves—body, mind, and spirit—to do your work. Give us the courage to take action and the grace to welcome all with a loving spirit. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 104; 149
First Reading Job 38:1-17
Second Reading Acts 15:22-35
Gospel Reading John 11:45-54
Evening Psalms 138; 98