It began when I was working as a temporary emergency shelter worker at St. Mark’s Church in Kitchener. Here I was able to hold space with some amazing men—leaning into their stories of battles with mental health, addiction, incarceration, and homelessness, as well as the loss of jobs, family, and friends.
Being trusted with such personal pieces of life forever changed mine.
Walking through this big old church at night doing my security checks, I often wondered why we were not able to use the entire space. I was told the other spaces were not safe, and that we didn’t have enough staff to use them effectively. I would ask God night after night, “Why?” Surely this God-given space was safer than being on the streets. I infused these walls with prayer nightly asking again and again, “Why?” Then I asked, “What could I do?”
I was given my answer.
My manager at the time shared with our team the values of Hope, Love, and Dignity that an organization called Indwell followed. St. Mark’s Place was Indwell’s first project here in Waterloo Region. It was the building we were standing in! Indwell hopes to finish this development in the summer of 2023, providing, once complete, housing to 43 individuals who are experiencing homelessness—the very individuals I was supporting in my emergency shelter work.
Every time I pass by St. Mark’s Church, seeing it in mid-build, I am so proud to be part of this Indwell Team as a housing support worker. I get to see hope being built for our community with a real understanding of the journey this building has been on.
Community is life-giving and essential to following Christ. This story involving my old clients, my colleagues, and my new Indwell team demonstrates a gathering of individuals with the same values of love, dignity, and hope—creating something better for those in our community that need to know they are loved. As Scripture says, that’s because we are better together than alone.
In love, I prayed a prayer to God while in St. Mark’s, and today I get to see the answer to that prayer in action.