Rev. Paul M. Turner, Founding and Senior Pastor, Gentle Spirit Christian Church

Meeting a Need: The Homeless Don’t Need Bibles

I’ll never forget the man who poured water all over my carefully orchestrated homeless ministry in Little Five Points. We had collected bibles and made sack lunches and were distributing them in Findley Plaza. Not that we were evangelizing — we just knew that there are people on the streets who take comfort in the bible.

But that doesn’t mean homeless people like to haul around books — even the good book. Because like any book, a bible will eventually get wet, it’s extra weight, etc. As much as someone may want to read the bible, the homeless don’t need extra ballast in their day.

So we stopped collecting bibles and started listening. And what we heard was that there are needs that go largely unmet by people like us who show up with bibles and food: A way to wash hands. Feminine hygiene. Socks. Not that food isn’t important, but it’s not the only need.

Two weekends from now we’ll be back in the streets with hundreds of hygiene kits, still listening. Four years after starting this, we’re still learning. It’s all about meeting a need.

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/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.