April 9, 2018 Showers of Blessings - The Rest of the Story
It’s happened to all of us. You jump in the shower, turn on the tap and… cold water! It may be days until your hot water tank is repaired or replaced. What if your water supply was completely cutoff due to an emergency or disaster? How would you feel if you couldn’t bathe for even a few days? This is an ongoing reality faced by our neighbors on the streets.
The Showers of Blessings ministry in the diocese of San Diego is helping make a difference in our communities by providing a portable shower unit to parishes who host this outreach to their neighbors. St. Mark’s in City Heights is one such parish; located in a largely lower income part of San Diego, with a substantial refugee and homeless population. The majority of St. Mark’s time and resources are spent serving those in need within their parish and their surrounding community. The Showers of Blessings mobile unit visits St. Mark’s just twice a month, limited by financial and volunteer resources. Clients arrive early in the morning to add their name to the list to reserve their 15-minute shower time. A simple breakfast is provided; clean towels and hygiene kits are available, often there is a stylist to provide a haircut and/or shave, and a variety of clean clothes are on hand for the taking. These simple luxuries that we often take for granted are so valued by those who have no access to them. The shower and clean clothes are transformational and provide a renewed sense of pride and dignity to the individual.
Christ Church partners with St. Mark on many outreach programs throughout the year, such as their food pantry with donations of food and funds, and their annual Back 2 School Bash. We support the showers ministry by providing volunteers, breakfast, and gently-used clothing items from our Thrift Shop. Parishioners who had volunteered were moved by the difference just a shower made and wondered, “Couldn’t we do more?” Couldn’t our parish raise at least the $4,000 it takes each year to fund the ministry at St. Mark’s? Enter the Christ Church Service Ministry team…
During the Lenten season our Service Ministry traditionally strives to raise funds to support a variety of programs, both here and abroad. This year the decision was made to provide the mobile shower ministry with a $4,000 gift. Christ Church parishioners knew the impact of the ministry and Christ Church’s rector, the Reverend Anne Bridgers volunteered to climb into a dunk tank for a soaking if the $4,000 goal was reached. Amazingly, that hurdle was quickly cleared. Not willing to ever say “enough is enough” the parish asked Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey if he would be willing to take a plunge if a total of $8,000 was raised. Without hesitation he agreed, the challenge was opened up to the community of Coronado, and guess what? On Palm Sunday Mayor Bailey dunked Rev. Anne AND parish youngsters dunked Mayor Bailey AND a giant check for $13,500 was presented to the parish of St. Mark’s. Win, win, and SUPER win! Who could have imagined the immense generosity of the parish, local service groups such as Rotary and Optimists, and the citizens of Coronado?
Christ Church hopes that these funds will enable St. Mark’s to continue the twice monthly offering for up to three years OR, perhaps, increase the frequency of the mobile shower visits. We strive to walk in love with one another and let our light shine on everyone around us. If you are moved by this ministry and interested in volunteering with the Showers of Blessings program, contact the parish office.