When volunteers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development counted the number of homeless people in Colorado one night last year, they found more than 10,000. Christ in the City, a Denver-based outreach program, hopes to positively impact some of those people — not just with food or shelter, but with friendship.
The organization sees one of its primary goals as getting to know homeless people on the streets. Young adult missionaries walk the streets of Denver in teams of three. They seek to encounter the homeless people who are often ignored. Over time, as they have conversations and meet regularly with the people on the streets, friendships develop.
“The people society usually ignores are called by name, treated with authentic love, and are reminded of their innate dignity. Their posture becomes more upright, their eyes begin to shine, and their hearts are softened as missionaries treat them with the tender care Christ modeled,” the organization said in describing its mission.
Currently, Christ in the City has 24 missionaries, ages 18-27. The organization operates in Denver, but has had requests to expand in the Archdioceses of Lincoln, Neb., and Philadelphia, Penn.
Also critical to the group’s approach is formation of the missionaries and efforts to help change the way society views the poor. On Saturday, Oct. 7, Christ in the City will host “A Night of Encounter,” an event that will offer a glimpse into what it’s like to serve the homeless not only in their material needs, but through friendship.
Hosted by Holy Name Parish in Englewood, Colo., the event will include an outdoor cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Missionaries will sit with guests, who will have the opportunity to hear their stories of encountering homeless people on the streets of Denver.
Tickets for “A Night of Encounter” can be purchased at: http://christinthecity.co/annualcelebration/