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  • Kate Kelly, Monarch Housing Associates, 908-347-1064 (cell) or 908-272-5363 x 226 (office) or kkelly@monarchhousing.org
  • Richard Brown, Monarch Housing Associates 908-370-5249 (cell) or 908-272-5363 x 225 (office) or rbrown@monarchhousing.org

#HomelessSabbathNJ Issues Multi-Faith Call to Action in Union County

When: Friday, December 16, 2016 – Sunday, December 18, 2016

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Where:  Congregations throughout Union County, NJ

Who will be participating:  Congregants from multi-faith congregations throughout Union County

A group of non-profit agencies and interfaith congregations are encouraging multi-faith congregations in Union County, New Jersey to join them  for a multi-faith “call to action” on the first annual Homeless Sabbath Weekend December 16-18, 2016. Community Access Unlimited, Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, Family Promise of Union County, HomeFirst, Monarch Housing and the Union County Interfaith Coordinating Council are organizing this event on behalf of all people who are homeless in Union County.

"The Homeless Sabbath and Memorial vigil will bring awareness to our community about how so many of our neighbors are struggling with becoming homeless. Our faith calls us to remember our neighbors, work for their well being, and uphold their dignity,”  says Pastor J. David Knecht, DMin, Lead Pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Knecht serves on the planning committee for the Homeless Sabbath and also the Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Vigil to be held at Holy Cross Lutheran on December 21.

On the night of January 26, 2016, 513 people, including 62 people without shelter, experienced homelessness in Union County, according to NJ Counts, the Point-In-Time Count.  We believe that no one should be homeless for the holidays or at any time of the year.

“The Homeless Sabbath is a unique opportunity for the interfaith communities in Union County to not only to pray for our homeless neighbors but also to begin to take steps to end homelessness in our community.” said Reverend Howard Bryant.

To date, 17 congregations in Union County will participate in the Sabbath.  They include:  Bethlehem Judah Christian Fellowship in Elizabeth, Calvary Lutheran Church in Cranford, Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, Community Presbyterian Church in Mountainside, Elizabeth Christian Worship Center, First Congregational Church of Westfield, First Presbyterian Church of Cranford, Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Springfield, RCCG Agape House of Worship in Roselle, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Summit, St. Michael Roman Catholic Church in Cranford, Saint James the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in Springfield, Temple Sha’arey Shalom in Springfield, Temple Sholom in Scotch Plains, Townley Presbyterian Church in Union, United Methodist Church of Summit, Willow Grove Presbyterian Church in Scotch Plains, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rahway.  In addition, three congregations from outside Union County will participate.  Click here for a complete list of participating congregations.

Congregations can participate by including prayers and readings in their service(s) held on December 16-18, 2016.  On this weekend, congregations will collectively pray for all homeless people and for the commitment to end homelessness in our community.  Eighteen congregations have registered for the event to date and many more are expected to join them.

“The weekend of the Homeless Sabbath was selected as it is only a few days prior to the longest night of the year. On the 21st we will be holding a vigil to remember all homeless people who died in the past year because of lack of a place to call home,” said Linda Flores-Tober.

The Homeless Sabbath weekend aligns with a Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Vigil, hosted by Holy Cross Lutheran Church 639 Mountain Ave. Springfield, NJ, on December 21, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.  This is longest night of the year and has been chosen as a time to remember all homeless people who died in the past year due to their lack of shelter or care.

Visit http://monarchhousing.org/homeless-sabbath-2016/ to learn more about the Homeless Sabbath Weekend and to register your congregation for the event.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/167022433768072/ to learn more about the Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Vigil in Springlfied.