Companionship is a basic human need, often neglected. It's also a need faith communities are uniquely positioned to meet. Through community visits to people marginalized by poverty, mental illness and addictions, BHM co-creates communities of welcome and inclusion.
Stigma isolates the most vulnerable people in our inner cities. Boarding Homes Ministry battles stigma in two ways:
1) our volunteer teams visit boarding houses (low income housing) and build strong, mutual relationships with residents, who often live with severe mental illness
2) we offer educational workshops to help faith communities practice mental health inclusion.
A word from a volunteer.
I am one of the initial volunteers with Boarding Homes Ministry. During
that long time I have learned the significance of
. the power of listening
. being reliable in friendship
. the beauty of hearing a resident repeating the Lord's Prayer in his first
language as others repeated in English
. showing love by sharing food treats
. presence and being quiet together
. accepting that what happens may “be a mystery”
I am blessed by the residents I have known and my relationships.
BHM believes in the sacredness of hospitality and attentive companionship.
We offer reverent attention, Although people in the homes have often been rejected, we recognize them for their strength, wisdom, and holiness. Because the people we visit have often been abandoned, we visit faithfully. We show what steadfast love can be like.
Celebration: With food, we celebrate birthdays, ordinary days, sobriety, survival. We encourage second helpings. Generosity affirms that each individual deserves much more than the minimum.
Mutuality: We don’t just give, we receive. The people we visit have so much to offer. The gift of a smile is as profound as sharing the gift of silence together.
We meet people right where they are. We don’t impose our beliefs or values. We offer spiritual support according to the needs of the person.
In all of this, there is grace. We believe that when we take delight in humankind (Prov. 8:31), God is there delighting with us.
Boarding Homes Ministry
A boarding homes resident gets a haircut by our volunteer Maddy
* *All residents pictured on our site have enthusiastically agreed to be featured*
Rev. Rodger Hunter- BHM Founder, starting up the barbecue at a visit
Team members Andi, Jim, and Maddy meet up before a house visit
"My mom has died, my dad is old, and I’m an only child. I’m really worried that I’ll be lonely. That’s why I need you guys."
"There are friends, and there are friends no matter what happens. You guys treat me better than my real family. You are the alpha and omega of friendship and love. No matter what, you never abandon us."
"I don’t know what I'd do without Wednesdays. It’s the only thing that gets my mind off the hassles. There are so many people out there just giving me a hard time. On Wednesday I can look forward to seeing you guys. I can get out of the house and actually communicate with people."