Since 2005, our cathedral has been an active participant of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati, providing warm and safe shelter to families who are homeless four times a year. Other congregations open their churches and synagogues to families in need other times during the year. All total, over 90 congregations in the Cincinnati area participate in this ministry, serving either as a host facility or by providing support services.
The cathedral hosts up to five families who are homeless for one week at a time.
“Our service is one of hospitality,” says Elizabeth Brown, the coordinator of the program. “We serve a hot supper, help children with their homework or play games with them, help parents pack lunches for the next day and serve breakfast the next morning.”
She adds, “I used to have to ‘strongly encourage’ my husband to join me during IHN host week. Now he enjoys it so much, he volunteers even without me.”
You can find the same satisfaction as a volunteer. Contact Elizabeth Brown to find out what you can do to help.
It is unusual to have two fathers staying at the cathedral with their children on any given hosting week. But there the two men were in November.
“Sunday evening when they arrived at about 5 p.m., one father made a beeline to the TV to watch the Bengals,” said Elizabeth Brown. “I warned him that we have not been very successful in getting TV reception and usually watch videos. It took him about four minutes of wire adjustments to get the game loud and clear, which evening host Prince Brown very much appreciated.”
Elizabeth tells another story of taking young religious couple into the darkened nave one evening during an organ practice.
“They were totally amazed by the grandeur and beauty of the space,” says Elizabeth. “I mean month open, eyes wide, blown away. It made me see a place that I had become used to with fresh eyes.”
And then there was the young mother who, upon seeing the nave, noted that central aisle would be perfect for a praise dance group during a worship service.
And finally, this tale of a happy rescue: A 4-year-old was distraught over his lost bunny. His mother said he wouldn’t sleep without it. Elizabeth drove to the cathedral and searched the toy basket. She found Runaway Bunny and took him over to the IHN Day Center where he was received with huge smiles.