In July of 2022, Bishop Akiyama commissioned a Housing Crisis Working Group for the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon in response to the evident emergency in our towns, cities, and nation. There are currently six of us, lay and ordained, from around the diocese, who are energized about this work and mission. We are charged to apply our faith collectively to this humanitarian crisis and mobilize the power and resources we have as Episcopalians in western Oregon to help people get—and stay—housed.
First among our resources is faith in a God who can do more than we can ask or imagine. Our faith gives us hope that things can be better than they are. And our faith gives us Jesus, who—as Presiding Bishop Curry said in his sermon at Trinity Cathedral on September 11—showed us how to live.
Jesus told us to love one another. He equips us for this work through his love. He feeds us, nourishes us, inhabits us, and is present among us. Jesus paved the way for us, demonstrating what love means. He touched, he listened, he honored, he defended, he healed, and he reconciled.
In his sermon, Bishop Curry used the language of rededicating and consecrating ourselves to God’s vision. He asked us “to dare to rededicate and consecrate ourselves to a different world—a world where people are not killed wantonly; a world where children do not go to bed hungry; a world where every man, woman, and child—every person—is seen and treated in the eyes of the law and in our relationships and in society as children of God…This is a dream,” he said, “that God intends and is gonna make happen.”
We in the Housing Crisis Working Group share Bishop Curry’s faith that God’s dream will happen, and we believe that we, collectively, are part of that dream. The housing crisis is a complex and enormous problem. The working group is praying, researching, and exploring things that our Diocese and our churches can do, and do well, to have a real impact on this issue in our region. This is an emergency, and we are called to work expediently and thoughtfully. Throughout our work, you will hear from us as we develop various engagement points for individuals, faith communities, and our Diocese.
To begin this work, we’d like to take an inventory of what our churches are already doing to support unhoused people and advocate for shelter. We hope to hear from each faith community in the diocese. Please fill out a quick survey in under ten minutes here.
As the weather becomes colder and wetter, and as we look toward the reign of Christ in the season of Advent, your faith community might consider including this prayer in your worship.