New York, May 24, 2018
A shelter for the homeless, opened in Brooklyn by the Charitable Foundation “St. John Give Hope,” becomes a place of joint prayer between the volunteers and their wards on Saturday evenings. However, at the House of Mercy, they prefer to call the wards “brothers.”
The movement from secular to Church terminology is logical from the standpoint of the foundation’s activity: Taking homeless people suffering from various dependencies, they are first sent to be treated in a New York hospital, after which the program begins in the House of Mercy, where the former homeless join the Church life by reading the morning and evening prayer rules, attending the Liturgy on Sundays, and so on.
The brothers have worked to erect a chapel in the name of St. John of Kronstadt, but they have been unable to finish due to a lack of funds. On Saturdays, they gather in a semi-equipped chapel and serve reader services. On Sunday, they go either to a nearby Moscow Patriarchate parish or a parish of the Orthodox Church in America. During Great Lent, the shelter brothers gave an adult baptismal font, which they had worked on for several months, to the OCA parish of the Holy Trinity in East New York.
There are currently seven men living in the House of Mercy. Until recently there were ten, but several have returned to a full life, finding work and providing housing for themselves.
There are many other successful examples among the brothers who continue to participate in the program. For example, the head of the House of Mercy, Georgy Topolia, recently marked seven months of a sober life and also has a job. Vyacheslav Kim has been accepted to study to become a rehabilitation dependent, and dreams of “investing his soul” in helping those whom he understands like no other.
In addition to helping the brothers in the House of Mercy, the Foundation's volunteers continue to feed the homeless five times a week. Its future plans include renting a place for women who are ready to return to social life.
The volunteers invite all those who wish to work for God to join and help their neighbors. The ministry is always in need of cooks, driver, photographers, and anyone who wants to help in any way.
Donations will be accepted with great gratitude, since the House of Mercy was recently cut off from electricity, and although after the payment of bills the problem was solved, the work can be continued only with the help of caring people.
Tel .: + 1-718-415-5777 (English, Russian).
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