Friday, August 05, 2005

A healer of machines

Blogging the SMC festival

Rose, a tiny young woman from The Simple Way, an eight-year-old community planted in a poor section of Philadelphia gave a brief history of the community.

A decade ago there was a big housing crisis in Philadelphia. (Still is). Thirty homeless families squatted in an abandoned Catholic church in a neighborhood called Kensington. The bishop wanted to kick them out. A group of Eastern College students began to befriend the squatters, rallying to their support although eventually they were evicted.

Ten of the Eastern students formed a community and decided to settle in Kensington. They now own two houses.

All of them come from evangelical backgrounds but as one of their founders, Shane, says, ‘It’s really been our neighbors who are teaching the kingdom.”

A handful of people with lots of visitors, “The Simple Way believes in living authentically small in a way that is visible,” says Shane.

For instance, one of their members, Justin, tells the story of their car mechanic telling them about Adrian, a mother with three children who had just become homeless. The Simple Way folks contacted Adrian and took her and her children in. ”It’s cool to provide some hospitality,” says Justin.

One day while they were driving Adrian around to look at houses for her to rent, a city bus clipped the door of their car, driving the door forward and ruining it.

When they brought it to their mechanic they told him what had happened and told him the progress Adrian was making.

“I’m going to fix your car door for free,” he said. “You guys are healers and I’m a healer of machines.”

No comments: