“Our mission is to feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted, seek justice for the homeless, and provide a sense of hope and opportunity to those in need.”
One might think that an Urban Ministry Immersion trip would include working at a soup kitchen. Not this one. Doug decided we needed a different lesson so one and two at a time we got into line to eat at this soup kitchen. Many of the students had already worked in a soup kitchen with their families. Never had they sat at table and shared a meal with those being served. A number of the students said this was the most humbling experience of their lives.
Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen has been serving meals since 1982. The Church of the Holy Apostles is located in the Chelsea section of the city and is home to the soup kitchen, a congregation and a temple. One of the things that is most striking is that the meals are served in the sanctuary of the church. In 1990 the worst happened. There was a horrific fire and the inside of the church was destroyed. When they rebuilt, they left out the pews. It is very impressive to sit at a table in this sanctuary and be served a meal. It gives the term “sanctuary” a whole new meaning.
Guests are not necessarily homeless. Many are just trying to make ends meet. Perhaps the choice for them is between rent and food, or health care and food. Putting us in this position let us see from the inside. Regulars in line were only too happy to give tips to new comers. They shared where to get all kinds of free services.
It was Ash Wednesday and in the corner of the sanctuary one could have ashes imposed. This is important to The Rev Glenn Chalmers who serves as Rector of the church and Executive Director of the soup kitchen. It is one more way to keep the church present in this 27 year old ministry.
We are grateful to Rev Bob who imposed the ashes and Derek Dewees, Director of Administration, who took time to talk to us about the mission of the church, finances, and the soup kitchen. What was most fascinating about these men was that the Rev was a retired banker. Mr. Dewees who had only been at Holy Apostles for six months had worked in Corporate America before working in a couple of nonprofits in California, eventually making his way to NYC and Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.