I attended the 11:00 am Homeless Memorial Service at Christ Church Cathedral on Monument Circle today. I can't recall how many of these I have participated in on the first day of winter in recent years, probably 10 or 12. Sadly, the names of 37 homeless neighbors who died while homeless or from the impact of homelessness were read, a higher number than usual. I recognized the names of several with whom I worked while directing Horizon House. The church bell tolled 38 times--37 times for known neighbors and one time for those known only to God. This is from the service guide:
"We gather together to mourn those who were homeless and have met premature and oftentimes preventable deaths in our city. Let us pause to reflect on the gift of each of our lives: our own life, the lives of our family members and friends, and especially the lives of strangers. Let us honor all life.Learn more about what is being done in Indianapolis to address and end homelessness through the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) and the National Coalition for the Homeless. Photo is by Rick Posson
"We gather together to bring attention to the shame of homelessness and how it robs our neighbors of their hope and their lives. Let us commemorate those who are no longer with us by working together to help prevent and end further homelessness. We can recast these senseless deaths with some greater purpose if they serve to spur us to help others.
"We gather here to reflect on our own lives and the choices we have made. What have we done, and more importantly, what will we choose to do that may give our own lives greater purpose and meaning? How will we be helped in choosing to act with hope, compassion, and courage? Let each of us find the courage and means to offer hope tho those who have so little and need it so dearly. Let each of us find a way to work together to offer our homeless neighbors the opporunity for better and longer lives and an end to their homelessness."