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Hygiene Kits for the Homeless: May 21, 2017

Several times a year we distribute nearly 500 personal hygiene kits to local homeless people. Since starting our hygiene kits ministry in 2010, we have distributed more than 5,000 kits. Our goal is to distribute 2,000 kits a year.

Our next distribution is planned for Sunday, May 21, 2017 in place of our regular Church Without Walls service. As with the regular service, we will meet in picnic Pavilion 2 in Candler Park.

During our last hygiene kits ministry on February 12, 2017 we assembled 500 more hygiene kits for distribution to local homeless people. We were joined by members of the Decatur Rotary Club, which also generously supports our hygiene kits ministry with a grant and sourcing of supplies.

The hygiene kits ministry happens in three phases:

  • Collection of hygiene kit supplies year-round.  (Click here to see a list of what we collect; we can use your help!)
  • Assembly of the hygiene kits on the date and time indicated above, at picnic Pavilion 2 in Candler Park in place of our regular Church Without Walls service.
  • Distribution of the hygiene kits to local homeless people immediately following assembly of the kits.


Hygiene Kits for the Homeless, February 12, 2017
Hygiene Kits for the Homeless, February 12, 2017

Let There Be Peace on Earth, and Let it Begin with Me

It’s 2017, and if anything is clear at this point, it’s that we absolutely must change the way we conduct ourselves. In other words, we need some powerful collective resolutions – yes, resolutions – to help us change the way things are and the way they might be.

But groups of people don’t really make New Year’s resolutions, do they? When groups of people resolve to do things, those resolutions have different names – laws, proclamations, constitutions.

So what we’re left with is what we can do on a personal level to impact how we as a society do business – in other words, to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, to be the change we wish to see in the world.

In this endeavor the bible actually has something elegantly simple and clarifying to say on the subject:

God has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NIV)

With that in mind, I was re-reading Jim Wallis’ 10 Resolutions for 2015 and realized that I could classify each of his 10 proposed resolutions according to the three main areas of focus God calls us to in Micah 6:8:

To act justly:
• Extend who our neighbors are; whom we are also called to love.
• Love hardest those who are the closest.
• Always ask, “What does this mean for the poor and vulnerable?”
• Support and empower women and girls.
• Question every act of war.
• Question calling any person of faith a terrorist.
• Make sure we know what terrorism is

To love mercy:
• Build racial bridges.
• Practice presence.
• Embrace hope and joy.
• Forgive as fully and as completely as god has forgiven us.

To walk humbly with your God:
• Love God with all your strength, heart and soul
• Stand up for the reality of climate change.

To which I will add: This idea of real forgiveness. Think and pray about, and then practice, living in a judgment-free zone where your inner voice is a voice of wisdom rather than judgment; a voice of compassion rather than judgment; a voice of real love rather than judgment. Because if there is no forgiveness, there is no life. When you refuse to let go and move on, what exactly are you hanging on to, and what exactly is it worth to you?

So there you have it, the start of a path for 2017 that can actually change the way we think, the way we do business. The challenge to this is: It is not about the waiting for the world to get better. It’s about each of us committing to be better, to do better, starting today – starting right now.

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org.

“Am I Going to Hell?”

Dear Pastor Paul,

My name is Ken. I was raised conservative Church of God and I have been taught my whole life that homosexuality is a sin. I began my coming out journey about five years ago when I was fifteen. Now I am in a committed relationship with a guy who was raised the same way I was. He too believes that we are both going to hell, but we don’t know how to change. We have prayed and fasted but to no avail. My question is this: Are we really going to hell for following our hearts?

Dear Ken,

Thank you for your letter. The struggle you and your boyfriend are having is because the institutional church has not caught up with the modern-day world when it comes to matters of sexuality.

Old ideas around sexuality are still being applied to people today, and they just don’t fit as God’s people have grown past the ignorance and a lack of understanding of how and why sex is practiced.

Here are just two quick examples:

    • Biblical marriage required “planting a seed” that grew into a baby. We know that is not how reproduction works.
    • To be married in the biblical sense meant the woman was the property of her father, who made a business deal with the groom to have his daughter. (Ask your Mom whose property she is.)

The “Bible” version that has been preached to you concerning this issue is full of inaccuracies and misunderstandings of the culture. There is plenty of biblical scholarship that points to the fact that gay folks are loved by God, and were created that way, and therefore are a blessing in this world.

Please take a look at this URL: http://whosoever.org/bible/
And this one: http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/bible-study/lgbt-bible-study/

I would be most happy to answer any questions that you might have after reading it over.

The fact that you and your boyfriend are in a committed relationship with God as your center is far more important than the gender of the two people sharing that love. The reason the prayer and fasting are not working is because there is nothing to change.

Do the homework I gave you, and know that neither you nor your boyfriend is going to hell for following your heart of love and commitment.

God Bless,
Pastor Paul

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org.