Sunday, November 29, 2009

Food for Thought on this First Sunday of Advent

The Bush Administration called them "nutritional aid." On its front page today, the New York times reports at length on the growing number of people on food stamps and the stigma of relying on them for groceries has faded.

Episcopal Cafe, however, links to another story in the Houston Chronicle about a Houston attorney who wants to close The Beacon, a program sponsored by Christ Church Cathedral, which helps the homeless in the city center.

According to The Beacon's web site, the four-day-a-week service "[provides] hot meals, clothing, private shower and lavatory facilities, laundry services, and case management to people living on the streets of Houston," all in hopes of eventually getting people off the street.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Arthur's suit is based the simple fact that since The Beacon came on the scene, his business has been compromised.

“What started as a good and noble idea has instead grown and turned into a danger to the health and safety of others in the adjacent areas,” the suit states. “The individuals sing, play music, dance, fight and (do) other undesirable activities. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, when The Beacon's operation is closed, things are once again quiet and pleasant.”

Cathedral leadership remains clear-eyed.

“The Cathedral is engaged in the business of feeding the hungry and caring for the poor, as it has been for 170 years,” [Christ Church Cathedral Dean Joe] Reynolds said. “Any time you do that, there are going to be challenges involved. We try to address those challenges. We have a stake in being good neighbors in ways that are consistent with the mission we have as a Christian community.”


“This is nothing new... We don't want to go about it in a cavalier way, but the Christian community has been in the business of feeding the hungry for 2,000 years. We're not going to stop.”

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