WILMINGTON — People from all walks of life are asked to come together Nov. 17 at Sugartree Ministry Center to break bread and converse about homelessness and potential solutions.
The event is named “Communion: A Forum on Homelessness”. This forum, though, will not have an on-stage panel. Instead, it’s meant to be an informal gathering of a cross-section of the community, said Sugartree Ministries Director Lee Sandlin.
At 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, everybody is welcome to enjoy a free meal of soup and sandwiches. Sandlin emphasized all are encouraged to participate. Among those expected to be there are individuals served by Sugartree Ministries, city officials, local outreach coordinators, and homeless shelter directors.
Community leaders there will bear name tags, and after the meal, the second hour of the event will be an informal meet-and-greet with coffee and doughnuts.
At that point, said Sandlin, those who have questions, concerns, and potential solutions can walk around and meet local leaders.
That’s why the event is called communion, which is related to the word communication. One meaning for the term “communion” is the sharing or exchanging of thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.
“So this communion meal is really all about bringing folks together in a peaceful setting, and just having conversation and fellowship and discussing the ideas of the day about how do we help our neighbors, brothers and sisters. How do we help them?” Sandlin said.
He added he was praying about it and God put into his heart “why not have a meal where we get together and we introduce the people in the city, organizations and churches who are trying to combat the problem of homelessness, addiction, brokenness, and let them break bread together.”
The gathering could also help break down stereotypes of others, said the director of the street ministry.
The easiest way to do that, Sandlin feels, is to introduce people to each other. He referred to an old saying that states it’s easy to hate somebody until you meet them.
The good news for these efforts is this is a great community, said Sandlin.
“What I’ve found in Wilmington — I worked in Middletown for seven years in inner city ministries — and what I found in Wilmington is Wilmington has this really strong community core that is fighting back and winning,” he said.
He said he wants Sugartree Ministries to be a catalyst for bringing the community together.
“People need more advocates. They need more people on their side,” he said.
Sugartree Ministry Center is located at 180 East Main Street in Wilmington, just west of Buckley Brothers.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.