Homeless don’t find sanctuary at most churches

When I mention the “aloha spirit,” most refer to our greetings, attitude and our all around go nature.

But I also see our aloha spirit and refer to the spirit, our churches and our Christianity, or what is left it. We call ourselves Christians in church but seem to fall short outside of church where the real work is to continue.

Social and family values fall short with divorces and moral shortcomings. But speaking from hard experience, shouldn’t where we fall short be assisted by our churches? I always thought that churches were a sanctuary for safety, advice and healing.

But being homeless, I found that it comes nowhere near close. I and many others volunteer to serve and help but when you become an “eyesore” or “need to be scarce,” you are chased away and advised “not to return.”

Sanctuary? Many of us homeless and down and out try to show our gratitude to the churches but are shunned away. We are not loitering, sleeping or abusing any part of the church but as soon as you show your thankfulness, you are turned away.

Except the Salvation Army church, there is not a church I or others have felt welcomed and have been chased away. Every major church here in Lihue, except the forementioned, we have not found “sanctuary.” Only thing we have found is isolation, criticism and made to feel unwelcomed and put down.

So where does “Christianity” start? Not with aloha. Our clergy, ministers and pastors need to look within themselves to start and realize we are human and it could have been you. We are not “eyesores,” “troublesome” nor “inconveniences.”

Just remember, homeless are people, too, with self esteem and pride looking for that “aloha spirit” or “sanctuary.” We are not looking for Notre Dame like the Hunchback for “sanctuary” to that does not exist, but just feel welcomed and we can rely on them.

Look at your church and see what you can do.

•••

Mark Segreti is a Kapaa resident.

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