Day in and day out, week in and week out, Sanctuary is providing a variety of programs and activities focused on the heart of their mission…community. But it’s not just any community. Its essence is found in those overlooked by most. Many of its community members, those “friends from the street,” are living in the margins of society more often than not.

But the staff members at Sanctuary don’t take an “us-and-them” approach. It’s not arms-length, but rather arm-in-arm. In obvious ways and in subtle, they do all they can to foster both community and relationships with all who walk through the doors.

Many of those intentional efforts are focused on providing a place where folks can experience a sense of normalcy, where inherent dignity is valued, where abilities are nurtured and where people can come to experience reprieve from the normal stresses that may dominate their lives.

Community defines the dynamic at Sanctuary, and the place truly serves as a refuge for the folks who call it home.

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About the Author: Stephen Crane is a year-long fellow with World Next Door. He has a bachelor's degree in theology from Calvin College and a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University. He has a passion for overlooked places and people and would snowboard at all times if it were possible!

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  1. Jeff Simmons said... 


    December 26th, 2011 at 8:48 am  

    A great lesson from Sanctury for all of us to consider in the new year- “arm in arm” and build community with those you you help, in your mission, or those at work. Can I have more “arm in arm – community type” relationships with those in need of me in 2012? Maybe I need to be a little more vulnerable in the new year…

    • Steve-O said... 


      December 28th, 2011 at 9:53 am  

      Yeah Jeff, I’d definitely say vulnerability is a vital component, despite the discomfort.
      I’m still trying to digest all Sanctuary does to foster that sense of community. The list is lengthy.

  2. Amy K. Sorrells said... 


    December 26th, 2011 at 12:07 pm  

    Love this: “not arms-length, but rather arm-in-arm.” Just how it should be! Super pics!

  3. Jim.M said... 


    December 27th, 2011 at 11:15 am  

    There is a closeness, a weird unassuming love for your neighbor that exists in the homeless community unlike anything I have experienced elsewhere, you have captured it in these articles… Seeing the shot of the Homeless Memorial reminded me of an experience from last summer.

    Last July late one nite I was outside Holy Trinity Church where the homeless memorial is pictured. I spent time with drunk man who had just seen his sister die on the street the week before. The pain of his loss was evident even through is intoxication. I asked if we could pray, to which he replied, “no I will pray”. He proceeded to pray for me, yes he was praying for me…I couldn’t believe what I was receiving from him. prayer for my safety on the street, prayer that I would have a “nice visit”, and prayer for for safe travels home. Not one word about his struggle!! Before the Amen…he asked forgiveness for praying while drunk. He opened his eyes and said, “Don’t worry about my sister…she’s OK now”.

    Incredible Faith and Love modeled for me in messiness of a crusty beautiful friend on the street.

    Stephen, you are shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, with some of the very people God cares so deeply for. There is so much we can learn by being present with them. God is easily seen and His presence with them is palpable.

    Thank you for bringing their story to us here. And thank you for giving us a glimpse of Sanctuary….and some of the friends who worship there.

    • Steve-O said... 


      December 28th, 2011 at 10:00 am  

      Jim, I recently had a similar experience, where I was prayed for!
      From a worldly standard, I should’ve been praying for him. But HE wanted to pray for ME! What a blessing!! I struggle for words to describe the scene…the depth of Reality found in that moment.
      Thanks for your ongoing support Jim! It’s truly appreciated..

  4. Jessica said... 


    December 30th, 2011 at 12:30 am  

    The picture of the Homeless Memorial struck me, too. It brought me back to my first weeks as an intern with Karura Chapel in Nairobi. The social justice pastor there organized a funeral for a homeless man who had no family to pay for one. The fact that several community pastors came together to bless his burial was a gift for everyone who attended.
    Your article challenges me to look for ways God is inviting me to both extend and receive dignity. We are all human and we all crave it!

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