The FHA launched the 13 Houses Campaign almost a year ago to change the lives of 10,000 homeless people. We wanted to inspire Vincentians around the world to join together in this effort, but we never closed the door to go beyond the Family. Now, the Campaign is starting to inspire people beyond the Vincentian Family and even the Catholic Church.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America approached the FHA after learning about our work with homeless people and the 13 Houses Campaign. The Archdiocese has recently joined the UN NGO Working Group to End Homelessness. That group is a coalition of organizations who share a common goal of measuring street homelessness, putting an end to it and making know to member states those strategies that are most effective.
Last September, ten Pan-Orthodox organisations came together in New York for a first meeting on homelessness:
“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, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:35-40).
As Orthodox Christians, we are called to serve our sisters and brothers in a relational way that recognizes each individual’s humanity, value and dignity.
Our theology, as Orthodox Christians, challenges us to give witness to our faith. Our identity inspires us to reveal Christ’s love in our service to others and to do this through Christ-centered empowerment, illuminated by the relational nature of the Eucharist. In recognizing that we are broken,spiritually homeless and in need of Christ, we also understand that beyond a physical shelter, each person needs to be served as a whole human being in need of a home … serving them spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally with dignity and respect.”
Now we are focused on creating a common language and approach, and have established a network of ministries and people working on homelessness in the United States.
We welcome the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to the fight against homelessness all over the world, as we look forward to supporting each other work from the perspective of our common Christian beliefs.