August 22 at 1:12pm
Tucked into a residential corner of Escondido, Trinity Episcopal Church has been quietly making a difference for the poor and marginalized for a very long time. As far back as 1982, Trinity member Julia Keyes helped lead a local study of the available social services in North County. It turns out that study was a catalyst in the creation of a local council to provide food programs to the hungry. A few years later, in 1987, the Interfaith Shelter Network was gearing up to provide homeless families with emergency housing to fill the gap when transitional and longterm housing was unavailable. True to form, Trinity was one of the first churches to step forward and offer space to the shelter network. 27 years later, they’re still working with the shelter network, and the church has never missed a year, according to the Reverend Meg Decker, current rector at Trinity.
Trinity was one of the first churches to step forward and offer space to the shelter network. 27 years later, they’re still working with the shelter network, and the church has never missed a year.
It’s a lot work to prepare a space in a church where homeless families can live, eat, and be relatively comfortable for a short time: “Some years we wonder why we do it,” admitted Decker. “But we keep coming back to, ‘If we don’t help out, who would?” Last winter, Trinity decided to increase their commitment, offering a small house on the church grounds to any other congregation to use for their own portion of the rotation. Decker made the offer to other congregations to use the house for their own full two-week rotation before and after the Trinity rotation weeks, providing a bit more continuity to those sheltered by the program. Towards the end of last winter, Reverend Decker started talking with Interfaith Community Services about how they might partner to use the house year-round to serve people in need.
Together, the two organizations came up with a program to meet a very real and urgent need: housing for homeless pregnant mothers and their children. And so a long tradition of serving the needs of the community is perpetuated at Trinity Episcopal in a new, creative way. But the good folks at Trinity still aren’t done. When asked about further plans, Reverend Decker admitted the congregation has their eyes on the next big goal: working with other faith communities and agencies to establish a permanent, year-round North County Shelter System for the homeless. We wouldn’t bet against them.