Beds Plus Testimonial

A letter to Hope from St. Mark's Pastor Jay Trygstad; St. Mark's is a BEDS Shelter Location: 


Dear Pastor Jon and the church of Hope,

 

My name is Pastor Jay Trygstad, and I am the pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church near the intersection of SW Hwy and 111th, in Worth.

 

We have had a ministry to the homeless here for about 15 years.

 

I was a pastor in Schaumburg (1992-2002) when Prince of Peace began our ministry to the homeless.(then called PADS) I remember it was very controversial at the time. The mayor opposed to it, arguing that there were no homeless people in Schaumburg (yea right.)   Doubtless  there will be those in Orland Park (where I currently live) who make the same argument. The reason many people don’t see  homeless people is because they blend in with everyone else. But let me assure you,  there are homeless people in our community of Orland Park.

 

I have heard fearful people predict that if we allowed homeless people into our church, certainly drifters and felons  will be drawn to our community like a magnet. Surely vagrants and criminals will come from all over Chicagoland just to stay in our church basement. We have not found that to be true at St. Mark.

 

We began this ministry at St. Mark by holding a community meeting and inviting people in the neighborhood and greater community to come and hear about the proposed ministry, and share their worries and concerns.

 

I was pleasantly surprised to see that most people who attended saw the value of it and the need for it. There were only 3 people,  (3 very loud and angry people) who opposed it. (Just as there will be loud people in your church and community that object to it. At St. Mark we decided not to let the tail wag the dog, but rather to be obedient to the words of Jesus when He tells us  in Mt. 25,

 

 “If you did it to the least of these my brothers/sisters, you did it to me.”

 

Since that time other churches have joined us in this ministry so that now there is a church site open in our community every night of the week during the coldest months of the year.

 

Speaking as the pastor of our church, I am convinced that this ministry to the homeless is the most important thing we do, and it is at the very heart of our church’s life and mission. It has been a blessing for our church, and for  our members. It has helped  many of our members to grow in their servanthood, and has enabled many people from our community to get involved as well.

 

I would be glad to share with you more in depth, or in person, about the value of this ministry. God bless you as you seek God’s will for your future.                  

 

Your brother in Christ,                                 

 

Pastor Jay Trygstad

Pastor Jon's Experience

I wanted to give you all an idea of what it was like to be at BEDS last week at two separate sites. The first was in a closed Catholic School and the second at a very nice UCC church in Oak Lawn. Let me describe to you what I saw:

  • I witnessed young and old serving together to feed and house men and women who had no place to go and nothing to eat. It was a sobering reality but an uplifting experience that was intoxicating. I felt myself desiring to stay and come back the following week.
  • The men who I personally served were polite, kind, grateful, and uniformly civil. 
  • The women and children who I witnessed were equally gracious
  • I saw human beings who, by and large, were older, sickly, and clearly frail. Once they took off their five-eight layers of clothing to shield them from the bitter Chicago February cold, looked more like nursing-home residents than threats to my safety. 
  • I never felt unsafe. 
  • I felt like the facility we were in was being cared for and the ministry was well organized. 
  • I felt like every volunteer understood the missional impact of their actions.


After going to the sites and reviewing the potential and likely  impacts to the church, positive and negative, I give my full support to this opportunity (see below for more on impact). I can report, without hesitation, that Jimmy and Rhonda (who joined me with their daughter Payton) agree wholeheartedly. 

More about Beds+

Watch the video below to know more about the wholistic discipleship ministry of BEDS

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Next Steps

We feel it's important for you to know what will come next: 


  1. We will conduct the time for Q&A followed by a Vote following worship on March 3rd. 
  2. If the congregation elects to go forward we will be assembling a task force to begin training and implementation with BEDS+. 
  3. We will also to inform the city of our intent to act as a shelter site and invite them to experience the wholistic ministry and positive impact for Orland Park of having such a ministry.
  4. We will notify all groups that meet on Monday night (currently just our Open AA Group) of the pending change to their meeting location in the Cafe
  5. LT and the Task Force will consider how to inform and involve the wider Orland Park Community in our Shelter. 

On the city approval side, it is important to note that we have the support of many other Christian faith communities both inside and outside of Orland Park. They have offered to help us both get the approval and with volunteers



Potential Impact

It is important to consider how this will impact our church both positively and negatively. This is Pastor Jon's (reader's digest) Report on potential impact. 


I will begin with the positive:

Research shows and my personal experience confirms that younger generations (X, Millennial, and Z) are increasingly reached through service opportunities than traditional church invitation; as this is currently the most unchurched population I believe we need to work on this. Beginning a missional compassion-based program the centers around serving the local community is not only effective for "serving the poor" it might be the most effective thing we can do for "reaching the spiritually disenchanted." (SEE THIS ARTICLE) That being the case, not only does this help us achieve our currently under-reached mission statement priority to "Serve Compassionately" it also allows us to "Experience Christ (and help others do the same)" and "Grow in Community". If nothing else, it helps us to utilize our building (our single greatest financial liability) to be better stewarded. 


There is also the impact to the clients of BEDS. CLICK HERE to read the story of Bill (pictured to the left) who's life was changed by BEDS+


The negative:

Obviously this will cost us time and money. Heating the building for an additional 10 hours is not free. Moreover the kitchen usage to feed these individuals wears down appliances etc and the electricity/water used will cost us nominally. BEDS has insurance to cover damages so facility liability is less of an issue. Moreover, this will cost us additional time and volunteer hours to do this ministry.