February 2015
Welcome to Gubbio!

Brother James Seiffert has been a volunteer chaplain at The Gubbio Project since September.  Stop by on Thursdays and you will see him standing at the entrance of the church greeting everyone who passes by and talking to guests.  Here's James in his own words: 

 

" I feel that by being outside in front of the Church is a welcoming gesture of invitation to anyone in need.  It allows me to engage with people and meet them where they are on the journey of their life.  It also lets some people who are afraid or hesitant about entering a church know that they are welcomed here and that it is a safe place to be.

"I feel that our guests at the Gubbio project need more than anything else is to be acknowledged, listened to, and to be present to them.  Our guests need our affirmation of their dignity as Sons and Daughters of God.  The greatest need of our guests after food, clothing, and shelter is for us as volunteers to be truly present to them.  

 

"I have learned so much from the folks who are cared for at the Gubbio Project.  My homeless brothers and sisters are truly my best teachers.  They have taught me values that are truly Christian.  They have taught me the value of simplicity of life, gratitude for what has been given to you, dependence upon God for all that you need, and a caring for one another.  They show me that even in what seems to be the darkness of times, there is still light, the light of hope.  I have received a lot of gratitude and love from my homeless brothers and sisters.  I feel they really appreciate our presence and willingness to help in whatever way we can."

Training in Awakening 
- from the director

 

I wanted to take a moment to respond to the incident that happened a couple of weeks ago when a cop was tasked with waking a homeless person up who was sleeping on a bus that had come to the end of its line near Ocean Beach. 

 

The task of waking up homeless people is one that is not relished by the Gubbio Project staff and volunteers, but one in which we have become experts.  We wake our unhoused neighbors up from the sidewalk in the morning at 5:45 am, from the front of the church when they fall asleep in those pews reserved for mass and prayer, from out in front of the church during the day, and finally from the pews at 2:45 pm when it is time for us to close.  We must wake up 100 people a day that don't necessarily want to be awakened. 

 

It is not an easy task, and probably our least favorite.  It takes training, patience, compassion, more patience, time (that we sometimes don't have), and a bit of humor.  And so it is with this expertise, and compassion for the 'awaking officer,' that I offer my insights on the incident. 

 

In response to the characterizations from the Public Defender's Office that Police Officer Chu had "lost his temper" and that his actions were a "reckless and unnecessary escalation of force," Police Chief Suhr defended Officer Chu saying that he was acting as he was trained to do.  While Suhr is probably speaking truth, it only makes the matter worse.  It begs the question of anyone who has seen the video , And

what training is that? 

 

A better response would have been for Chu to admit what the Public Defender's Office said was true - he did escalate the situation.  It is understandable.  Most people have had to put up with someone who was drunk.  And it would be hard not to sympathize if Chu came out saying "I was impatient, and in my effort to accomplish my task - to get Mr. Warren off the bus - probably hurried him along too much. I got triggered when he insulted me, challenged me and offhandedly threatened me."

 

This self-knowledge and analysis is what I would expect of my staff if we had an incident here at Gubbio.  Is it too much to ask this of those who are entrusted with the safety of the whole city? 

 

Mr. Warren played his part in this incident.  But he did not deserve to be beaten, pursued, and pepper sprayed, and then to spend two weeks in jail.  He owes an apology to be sure for the way he acted, but he certainly deserves an apology as well. 

 

Along with training in CPR/First Aid and working with folks who have mental health issues or suffer from addiction, I offer the staff training in knowing their triggers and in de-escalating situations.  We use these skills every day.  Wouldn't it be great if, after Chu's (suggested) acknowledgement of getting triggered, Police Chief Suhr could defend his apology saying "he was simply doing as he was trained." 

In This Issue
Meet the Gubbio Staff!  

Can you guess who:

-In their spare time "enjoys
reading, going on trips, and riding their motorcycle."

-Has an "English major degree from the University of New York at Binghamton."

-Is a father of three and has two grandchildren.

-Whose number one phobia is whales.

-Used to be an electrician.

-Got their BS from West Point.

Head on over to our website to see a small introduction from our staff! 
This is the work.
- Jose Lopez, Vincentian Service Corps Member

Jose's reflection this month comes in the form of a video.  Click here to listen to his 3-minute vlog where he shares stories from the sanctuary and the street.  

Faithful Fools: Somatic Experience.

The Gubbio Project staff  has been invited to attend a training on the Somatic Experience, a healing modality that is used  to address issues of trauma. The training will be offered by Linda Chrisman to familiarize us with the treatment so that we can refer guests in the future.

If any volunteers are interested in joining us on Tues, March 10th from 1:30-3, contact Laura Slattery at:

lauras@thegubbioproject.org


 
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