Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Interview with the Klesiuses and Ieriens

Shown in the picture here are Ralph & Lee Klesius surrounding (co-)Pastor Kathy Ierien with her children Rachel & Megan.  We had a chance to talk to these committed Family Promise supporters about their experience with Family Promise at Good Shepherd.  Pastor Kathy had much to say about the impact Family Promise has had on their church.  For starters, she believes that their involvement in Family Promise has raised awareness of homelessness and provided an opportunity for ministry right in their own church, locally.  In addition, she has observed that a number of people in their congregation have become involved - engaging a broader cross-section of than they would normally see in a ministry opportunity.  This has gone so far as some of their members raising interest to support Family Promise with their neighbors (we should also mention that a number of people at Good Shepherd are talking to other congregations about Family Promise and have a visit from another prospective congregation later this week).  Pastor Kathy quotes the Matthew 25:35  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.  She strongly believes that not only does Family Promise help us better understand homelessness and teaches us about hospitality, but also broadens our perspective on what it means to be the Church.

Ralph Klesius is always thinking about the schedule and ensuring operations run smoothly.  He tells us that this 2nd time is much easier!  (the first time hosting was a real learning experience for all of us!).  It is encouraging, he notes, that we are seeing new volunteers come on board with the 2nd rotation of hosting.  Ralph & Pastor Kathy both commented that Good Shepherd "won the lottery" with the opportunity to host Christmas week.  In fact, Pastor Kathy says she views this as a wonderful opportunity to provide this outreach during one of our most sacred times of the year.  On a related not however, Ralph commented that he would like to see us expand to include more congregations, including Jewish Synagogues, as we continue to expand our network.  In fact, this is one of the aspects of Family Promise that they find most appealing:  congregations of different denominations and faiths coming together in a common cause to care for homeless families.  Lee Klesius agrees:  it is the ecumenical aspect of Family Promise that she finds most appealing - getting to know those from other congregations.

After Ralph gave us a tour of the expansive facility of Good Shepherd, we ran into (co-) Pastor Bob Ierien in the office preparing for a meeting.  Pastor Bob has been a strong supporter and driver to bring Family Promise to Good Shepherd and is also helping to spread the word to other congregations.  Pastor Bob summed it up well:  "Our congregation has received much more from Family Promise than we have sacrificed for this ministry."  He then went on to conduct his business meeting and prepared to spend the night at church, hosting our families!

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