“The shelters offer food, some clothing and a bed. People also need to heal themselves on the inside. LEFSA helps them find that strength and healing from within themselves.”
—Sr. Dorothy Gallant, LEFSA Co-Founder
The specific purpose of LEFSA is to provide a forum for people who are homeless to:
- meet with one another in order to focus together on their lived experience and its particular problems
- seek directions and solutions
- help one another to believe in themselves
- work at developing ways to move out from under systems that under-develop and oppress them.
The heart of LEFSA . . .
are our faith-based community gatherings within city-sponsored shelters, as well as our weekly street ministry. The gatherings are interdenominational, voluntary in nature, and based on an empowerment model. Participants help to plan and assist in facilitating the gatherings.
These gatherings provide a forum wherein people who are homeless come together to share life and faith experiences, share about the problems related to homelessness, and work within a supportive faith community towards emerging from their situation.
Together with homeless persons, team members try to look deeper into the causes of homelessness and study how transformation can take place.
The Base Christian Community Model of our gatherings adapts and applies Scripture to the social problems of our time. This brings the reality of people’s lives and the Word of God together and looks at what actions we can take as a faith community so that Christian values can be realized in our society.
The Base Christian Community Model involves:
- Connecting to the reality of the people—the social, economic, religious and political contexts in which people find themselves;
- Study of the Bible—looking at how life’s situations are reflected upon in the light of God’s Word;
- The community—the agent that brings the reality of people’s lives and the Word of God together;
- Mission and action—examining what actions we can take as a faith community so that God’s values can be realized in the Universe.
The frame of reference for Base Christian Communities is the Reign of God—the vision of Jesus. The reign of God orients our direction, and the Word of God and faith community empowers us to work towards that goal.
LEFSA strives to:
- create a loving and affirming presence
- work from the reference point of extending the reign of God
- reverence the dignity of each person with whom we come in contact
- be in shelters to accompany, encourage, challenge and befriend persons as they take control over their own lives
- focus not just on having meetings but on building an atmosphere where communion takes place
- be at gatherings among people in the shelters, not as teachers with the truth to give, but as people of faith with one’s personal truth to share along with other believers
- look together at how to continue the mission of Jesus and commit ourselves to transformation
- share resources
“We confirm Christ’s love message: We are all our sisters’ and brothers’ keepers—God’s family.”
– Godfrey, LEFSA Team Member
- regular interdenominational faith-based community gatherings in shelters, drop-in centers, a drug rehabilitation program, and an HIV/AIDS residence. Click here for a list of locations.
- resources and referrals
- weekly street ministry to distribute food and clothing while building relationships with those on the streets
- housing advocacy
- monthly Leadership Study Days: spiritual gatherings centered around a specific theme with a social justice component.
- Men’s Spiritual Development Group and Women’s Empowerment Group, open to anyone seeking spiritual development
- annual retreats to give participants the opportunity to share, pray, relax, reflect, and experience nature while promoting community and spiritual healing
- holiday meals, gatherings, and parties for homeless individuals and families