John, thanks for your thoughts. First, let me say that I'm an admirer of yours (and Mr. Baker's). I sincerely apologize if I assigned motives to Mr. Goggans that weren't there; he is certainly a very pleasant young man and was easy to work with. I was perhaps a little too punchy, but let me share why. This is the second time I've worked with someone from the Flyer, and in both instances, I feel that I clearly outlined our policy for overnight stays. But the final outcome in both stories was missing some info that, I believe, was pertinent. In this case, I forwarded the above link to Mr. Goggans while we were working together on the story. If the policy is going to be brought up in an article, regardless of the focus, why mention only part of it? Anyway, thanks again, and keep up the good work yourself.
Mr. Awesomeberg and Lucy: I can tell we will have to agree to disagree on this. We at the Mission believe that the Gospel has to be communicated practically (with action), but also verbally (with words). Moreover, most of the local soup kitchens and service providers (the overwhelming majority of which are wonderful organizations that are very worthy of support) do not require any sort of chapel attendance, so we don't believe it's that much of an imposition to do so ourselves. And no, I don't feel that what we're doing is a hussle; I've seen enough lives impacted in my years working here to know that it's not. Good day to you both.
I'm Steve Carpenter, the guy quoted in the article. I realize I'm probably in a hostile environment here, but I feel the need to point out a few things.
First, I find it unfortunate that the reporter made sure to mention the $6, but neglected (perhaps on purpose) to include the rest of our policy for overnight guests, which is more nuanced than what was described in the article. If you're interested in reading our entire policy, here is the link (scroll to the bottom half of the page): http://www.memphisunionmission.org/how-you…
Second, I wish to point out that, on any given day, we have upwards of 80 men and women who are enrolled in various residential recovery programs. The facility at 383 Poplar Ave. is, from our perspective, the introductory point to our other services. These residential program are provided free of charge, and clients are typically with us for about a year before graduating. Given the fact that these programs are designed to rebuild people's lives, I would very much take issue with the accusation that we are "just a business" that just wants to keep people homeless.
And yes, in an ideal world, we wouldn't have any homeless people in the first place. But then, we don't live in an ideal world.
And finally, Marty, it's not a matter of being desperate. The fact is, our ministry was founded in the 1940's to minister to people in need and to share the Gospel at every opportunity, and so we are simply trying to fulfill the mission (pun intended) that our founding fathers set for the ministry many years ago.
By Toby Sells
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