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:
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
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.