March 2017 E-Newsletter
Memorial Service at Gubbio - St. John the Evangelist
by John Brett, Site Coordinator at St. John the Evangelist

Jose* approaches me to say that Edwin's mother has passed away, in Guatemala. Edwin, unhoused and now disabled, cannot return to his family to memorialize the woman whose picture he still carries with him, through rain, through hard nights on the sidewalk. What might we do? Dorthea, teary-eyed for Edwin's loss, asks that we hold a mass. Day-to-day we begin to discuss what we might do, and how. Who will come? We decide that we'll offer a service of prayer and remembrance one morning at the beginning of Lent at 9 am, during the hour of Prime, a time that members of Saint John the Evangelist and The Gubbio Project have begun to join together for a reflective worship.
On the appointed day, slowly, they gather outside Saint John the Evangelist, a small group of friends from the streets. Today, they constitute a congregation, together to support Edwin and remember his mother. Edwin approaches me earlier in the morning and asks, "May I bring candles?" "Of course," I said, feeling his need for permission, and his desire to honor his mother with a velatorio, acutely. When he returns, he brings three vigil candles, and a spray of cloth orchids, and contributes the framed picture of his mother and family from his belongings. We arrange the items on the altar, as we together make a sacred space more sacred still.

Photo Credit: Sara Warfield
As we worshipped and prayed that morning, we added one more witness, one more icon to the cloud of witnesses that fill the walls of the Mary Chapel to the side of Saint John's nave. As we remembered Marta, a community of the streets and the communities of Saint John and The Gubbio Project were united, revealing a picture of the Beloved Community.

*All names have been changed to honor the privacy of our guests.
From the Director
March 2017

Almost every weekday Del Seymour, the unofficial Mayor of the Tenderloin, walks into St. Boniface with a small group in tow as part of the Tenderloin Walking Tours he created over 6 years ago to showcase all of the beauty and good work that people are doing in the TL. Because of him, high school students all over the country, engineers from Holland, and local CEO's and Executive Directors know about, and have experienced the beauty of, the "sacred sleep" and co-existence of the housed and unhoused that happens daily. If you haven't been on one his donation-based tours, check them out.  

The Gubbio Project has permeable borders. Unless someone behaves in a way that makes other guests unsafe, we allow anyone and everyone to come into, and go out of, the sanctuary of St. Boniface and St. John. We don't ask for papers or ID; we don't ask questions about their drug or alcohol use, their criminal history, or HIV status; we don't ask when the last time they went to confession was, nor do we inquire about where or when they were born. We don't question them to see if they have a history of mental illness or if they've been married. We do ask how they are today and if there is anything we can do to be of assistance. And this seems to be sufficient for creating community and helping to keep all of us as safe as we can be.


A guest recently got all of his belongings stolen. He comes to the chaplain who had given him a picture of himself and her from a breakfast we had. He apologizes that he no longer has the picture and asks if she couldn't print him out another one. It means a lot to him. This is the third time since the picture was taken that he has come back, heartbroken at the loss, and entreating us for a new one. Given his very limited possessions, I am happy to keep making the copies to ensure that a picture of him and a loved one is among them.

-Laura Slattery
Mark your calendars - Gubbio fundraiser April 28th and 29th!
For more information and to purchase tickets, click the image below.

Gubbio Fundraiser image

Sisters of the Road (Documentary)
On the Ground is a short documentary featuring members of the Sisters Of The Road community, local activists, and elected officials speaking to lived experiences of houselessness and poverty in Portland, Oregon. Content direction by Sisters Of The Road community and production by Balance Media.

Upcoming Events

Opera On Tap: A Fundraiser for The Gubbio Project
Friday, April 28th and Saturday, April 29th | 8 PM
St. John the Evangelist - 1661 15th Street
$25 - Tickets available on Eventbrite

Project Homeless Connect 67
Wednesday, March 22nd | 10 AM - 3 PM
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

Coalition On Homelessness - Free School Week #1 - Immigration Rights
Monday, March 20th | 1 PM - 4 PM
Coalition on Homelessness - 468 Turk Street 

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