Sea­sonal shel­ter gets space at KI United Methodist

Record Observer - - News -

CH­ESTER — There were smiles all around when Haven Min­istries held an open house for the pub­lic to see the newly des­ig­nated space for its sea­sonal shel­ter at Kent Is­land United Methodist Church in Ch­ester. The shel­ter, which pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied three class­rooms in the church, has re­ceived a new open space in­clud­ing a com­mon room con­sist­ing of a liv­ing room, din­ing room and kitchen, as well as an ad­ja­cent room with bunk beds to ac­com­mo­date men, women and chil­dren.

Ac­cord­ing to Don Lewis, chair­per­son of the church’s Board of Trustees, the church re­con­fig­ured its Sun­day School rooms to ac­com­mo­date the changes.

He said, “The new space is less work as we no longer have to tran­si­tion the space each day from one thing to an­other — set­ting up cots at night and break­ing them down in the morn­ings. The new space can re­main set up for the shel­ter which is a win-win for both the church and the shel­ter.

“This has been a very easy tran­si­tion be­cause Haven Min­istries has been oper­at­ing its shel­ter very smoothly in the church for 10 years,” he added.

The church has also ex­tended its hours to ac­com­mo­date the shel­ter, which is open from 6 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. daily. Kent Is­land United Methodist Church is one of 15 churches that par­tic­i­pate in sup­port­ing the shel­ter.

Pas­tor David Ben­nett of Kent Is­land United Methodist Church wel­comes the des­ig­nated shel­ter space, stat­ing, “For our con­gre­ga­tion to have the shel­ter in our midst is strength­en­ing the church’s role in the com­mu­nity. It has helped us to un­der­stand the re­spon­si­bil­ity we have to meet the needs of the com­mu­nity and to care for those in our com­mu­nity.

“I hope the re­la­tion­ship we and other churches have had with the Haven Min­istries will help the com­mu­nity un­der­stand that the peo­ple here just need a lit­tle bit of help. Home­less­ness is some­thing our com­mu­nity can em­brace — we don’t have to be fear­ful of it,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to Mia Cran­ford, fundrais­ing co­or­di­na­tor for Haven Min­istries, “The new shel­ter space has come alive. There is a pos­i­tive en­ergy now which trans­lates into our mis­sion to help peo­ple feel at home here and to work to­ward even­tu­ally hav­ing this feel­ing again in their own homes.”

Haven Min­istries has fo­cused on pro­vid­ing a very homey and com­fort­able space for its guests. Cots have been re­placed with per­ma­nent bunk beds and small Sun­day School chairs have been re­placed with com­fort­able over­stuffed couches and chairs, as well as café tables for eat­ing. The fur­nish­ings and paint for the new space were funded by pri­vate do­na­tions to Haven Min­istries.

Cran­ford said, “The church is show­ing the love of Christ by wel­com­ing shel­ter guests to the newly con­fig­ured space. It has re­ally been a com­mu­nity ef­fort. Lo­cal artist Sue Stock­man of St. Michaels was com­mis­sioned to cre­ate a beau­ti­ful mu­ral for the shel­ter’s com­mon space.”

Stock­man re­called Haven Min­istries ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Krista Pet­tit wanted a mu­ral de­signed specif­i­cally for the space to go along with all new and spe­cial fur­nish­ings through­out. Af­ter Pet­tit re­ceived a grant from Richard Marks from Dock Street Foun­da­tion, the mu­ral was cre­ated. Stock­man thought the mu­ral was a great metaphor for the lives of home­less in­di­vid­u­als – “tak­ing things bro­ken and dis­carded to cre­ate some­thing beau­ti­ful out of them, mak­ing ev­ery­one feel valu­able and hope­ful.”

“The mu­ral was also a very per­sonal project for me, as my ex-hus­band died last year and was home­less at the time of his death,” Stock­man said.

Fol­low­ing her ex-hus­band’s death, Stock­man be­gan work on the mu­ral with her daugh­ter, Se­quoia Chu­pek, in their stu­dio in St. Michaels.

She said, “I rec­og­nized how im­por­tant it was for us to be work­ing to­gether dur­ing this time. It was just as ther­a­peu­tic for Se­quoia as it was for me as we cocre­ated this piece of art.

“I have learned that if we are open, things are brought to us that make a real dif­fer­ence in our lives. This project has had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on our lives, as well as those re­ceiv­ing it at the shel­ter. Work­ing on the mu­ral has helped us learn not to judge peo­ple who are home­less as they travel their own jour­neys.”

Haven Min­istries of­fers a 24-hour a day pro­gram, with day­time ser­vices open to the pub­lic at the Re­source Cen­ter and night­time shel­ter ser­vices at the shel­ter, ex­cept for week­ends when its Re­source Cen­ter is closed. In ad­di­tion to its sea­sonal shel­ter and Re­source Cen­ter at St. Paul’s Epis­co­pal Church in Centreville, the or­ga­ni­za­tion op­er­ates a Thrift Store, Mon­day through Satur­day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a Food Pantry on the third Fri­day of ev­ery month.

For more in­for­ma­tion or to be­come a Friend of Haven Min­istries, visit haven-min­istries.org or call 410-739-4363.

From the left, at Haven Min­istries’ re­cent open house, high­light­ing the des­ig­nated space for its sea­sonal shel­ter at Kent Is­land United Methodist Church, are Krista Pet­tit, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Haven Min­istries; Sandi Wis­cott, case man­ager for Haven Min­istries; Caro­line Aland, pres­i­dent of Haven Min­istries Board of Di­rec­tors; Margie Reedy, Haven Min­istries board mem­ber; and Karen Bard­well, Haven Min­istries vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor.

Artists Sue Stock­man of St. Michaels and her daugh­ter Se­quoia Chu­pek work on the mu­ral which now graces the com­mon room in Haven Min­istries’ sea­sonal shel­ter at Kent Is­land United Methodist Church in Ch­ester. The shel­ter has re­ceived a new open space in­clud­ing a com­mon room con­sist­ing of a liv­ing room, din­ing room and kitchen, as well as an ad­ja­cent room with bunk beds to ac­com­mo­date four chil­dren and six adults.

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