Tuesday

7:05 AM. Arrive at church. 18 people sleeping on the front porch, and I talk to some. Eric and Nicole want to know why I object to their sleeping there. I point out the trash, broken flower pots, urine smell, excrement, and suggest they’re killing the church. It wasn’t them, they say, bad people came at night to do this. I notice David, who’d been removed by police three times one day last week for drunkenness. Drunk now, he told me he was going to rehab. 7:15. Unlock the church, make coffee, set up for men’s bible study. 7:30. Prayer, bible study. Great group, always a highlight. 8:35. Custodian says freezer is only holding 10 degrees. It’s over 30 years old. 8:45. Voicemails. Rent-A-Center needs a reference. Return calls. Emails. Former member who lives in Florida and follows my blog will be visiting soon! Concern from member that names in the bulletin were wrong. Why no Apostles Creed? 9:00. Ops director spots someone smashing flower pots on security camera footage, early Sunday AM. 9:30. Ops director spots the vandal, it’s Eric, mentioned above, who’s still out front! 9:45. I call 911. 9:55. Police arrive and check for warrants. Erik is felon wanted for gun charges. Give police my contact info. 10:35. Half hour late for discussion of book Evicted with ministerium walk-in volunteers at 1st Lutheran Church. 11:40. Walk back to church with a church member who’d read Evicted. 11:55. Pastor Dan and I discuss staff concerns. 1:00 PM. Lunch at Ten Penny with Patrice, head of PGH Marathon, Pastor Dan, his wife Leslie, and Pastor Brian of 1st Lutheran. Prayer. Patrice gives us a $5000 check for the Ministerium walk-in ministry. 2:35. Dan and I encounter Earl, walk-in guest, on Penn Ave, 2:45. Dan and I talk to panhandler on church steps. 3:00. More email. Evening custodian will be late; I’m happy to lock up. Share thoughts on pastoral care issue with our student pastor. 3:45. Pastor Dan and I discuss pastoral care issues. Prayer. 4:30. Time to lock up, but someone is lying awkwardly on front porch, so I check. Mike is his name, says he’s OK, but he’s not. Holding his stomach. 4:40 Dan has set up pop-up meeting with Charles Chapman of Living Ministries. Promises to help us with people sleeping out front. 5:15. Meeting over and we check on Mike. He’s pulling out handfuls of poop from his pants and throwing it. Charles calls Operation Safety Net street team who promises to come, but they don’t. 6:00. I call 911. 6:10. Police arrive and try to rouse Mike, but he keeps falling back and hitting his head. They won’t get close since Mike is covered in poop. 6:20. Paramedics arrive, wrap Mike in sheets to keep from soiling everything. Strap him to stretcher. 6:30. Escort visitor to women’s bible study. 6:30. Check in with folks at Outreached Arms meal. Invite the guy who runs the drink station, a venture capitalist, to church. 6:40. Greet guests and volunteers. Custodian late. Round up buckets, etc. to clean poop. 7:15. Guy named Michael is eating chicken on front steps. Drunk, he doesn’t notice the smell. He looks familiar. Yes, he’d slept there last night. Before alcohol, Mike had been head of security at a mall. How many times, I ask, has he been to rehab? Four. I ask about his family, and he starts to cry. Has a daughter, 18. I tell him to go ten more times if he has to; his kid is worth it. I pray for him. 7:30. Young lady sitting on the steps talking on her phone. I warn her about the mess I’ve been cleaning and notice her accent. She’s from Turkey, a student at Chatham, and a Muslim. I invite her to church. 8:10. Head home. 8:45. Shower, wash clothes. 9:30. Email, personnel team report, texts, put my clothes in the washer. 10:30. Start this blog.

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