2016 was a pivotal year at City House.
We accomplished our long-desired goal of hiring an executive director. Rolf Lowenberg-DeBoer came on board in September. He has significant experience in serving those in deep need in our metropolitan neighborhood, has relationships with a wide range of faith communities, and a beautiful heart for the work of City House.
Under his leadership, City House initiated a new partnership with YouthLink and set the foundation for a partnership with St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral. We look forward to fully establishing these relationships and welcoming new listening volunteers so that we can expand to more organizations in 2017.
Our financial results were very positive. Our income grew 25% from 2015 thanks to the generosity and confidence of our financial supporters.
We sincerely thank Lorilee Petrangelo for her service as program director and wish her and her family abundant blessings. We welcome Rena Turnham who joined City House as program manager at the beginning of 2017.
City House anticipates continued growth of our healing, sacred listening service to more of our brothers and sisters. Sacred presence helps our participants tap their inner resources of resilience and hope and re-establish life-giving connections in their lives. They are able to move beyond the basics
Your support and care for City House makes this holy service possible. Thank you most sincerely.
The greatest poverty is isolation. City House listeners practice spiritual listening that fosters connection, builds resilience, gives hope, affirms dignity and leads to overall well-being. Moving from isolation to community requires a focus on presence and accompaniment that affirms human dignity. We go beyond basic needs and tend to the spirit through deep listening, all over the Twin Cities Metro. The work of City House complements what is already occurring at each of our partner organizations.
Spiritual listening is compassionate, affirming, and non-judgmental. It is an important part of moving beyond the basics of food and shelter and into community. We are a a faith-motivated, ecumenical group of highly trained volunteers and staff. City House volunteers accompany vulnerable people experiencing difficult times for a little while on their journey, contributing to their sense of hope and connecting them to their inner strength and sense of dignity. Our hope for all of us is that we can move from surviving to thriving.
A Compassionate Witness
This fall I was asked if I’d be interested in visiting the newest of City House’s partners, YouthLink, a multi-faceted agency for 15-23 year old homeless youth. They were seeking a spiritual component to their programming and sought out City House. THEY sought out City House! I was surprised at how quickly I said, “Sure, I’ll visit there”. For most of my 20’s I worked with teenss, but that was more than 40 years ago! I was curious but also a little unsure—-what could we have in common? What if I’m too shy or too old? But I trusted that God was up to something.
Now, most Thursdays at the Drop-In center you’ll find me coloring, or learning about someone’s art or favorite music. Then there are the conversations celebrating a job, an apartment, college, a new relationship. There are also the hard conversations about unhealthy friends or family, times of violence in their lives. Last month one of the youth asked to talk to me because he saw me water some plants, and figured I must be a safe person. And another teen told me that my showing up makes a difference. I’m going to keep showing up and I’m honored to do so. Thankfully, God keeps showing up too. I get to find out what a miracle each of these young lives are, with opportunities and journeys ahead of them—unpredictable and sacred, sort of like my time at YouthLink. There are no guarantees for any of us there, but relationships are accumulating because we all show up. I love it!
A Wellness Partner
Chris Ackerman is the Program Director of Outpatient Chemical Health at RESOURCE, Inc. City House programming has been a beneficial service to members of our mental health programs at RESOURCE for some time, which is how I came to know of the services they offer. I met with City House staff earlier this year to discuss bringing City House into our chemical health treatment program. The connection was immediate and we knew we had something that we needed to get to our clients as soon as possible. Spiritual wellness was no longer going to be a missing piece in this treatment center anymore! We started by providing Tai Chi Chih classes for clients and staff. The response was immediately positive as were the results. Clients and staff mentioned increased resilience and a sense of feeling recharged. Clients were learning the connection between the psychological and physical components of trauma experientially. We decided to add individual spiritual listening to both staff and clients. Again, rave reviews and stories of increased emotional resilience and connecting clients to or back to their spirituality in recovery. I cannot say enough about City House, the quality of services they provide, or the genuine passion and care they bring into our program. We at RESOURCE truly value this partnership and enjoy the improved quality of care we provide to an otherwise underserved community together.
A Peaceful Presence
“Nancy” had been a resident at a homeless shelter in downtown St. Paul for two months. She explained the only reason she came to meet was that she did not want to be alone that morning. She described the tremendous anxiety that she felt since waking up that day—with a “pit “in her stomach and a sense of unease and shakiness. She went on to share some of the challenges she faced as a single mother of a young son who is having trouble in school.
As I listened, Nancy shared some of her fears and disappointments, as well as her belief in God—a God that often felt “far” from her. As our time together came to a close, Nancy expressed heartfelt thanks and reached over to take my hand. She expressed her appreciation for the brief sense of peace she encountered in the time we shared. I, too, was grateful for the time I had spent with her in the quiet presence of the Spirit.
ACTIVE IN 2016
Basilica of St. Mary Outreach Ministries
Basilica of Basilica of St. Mary Pathways Program
Eden House/Re-entry Metro
Harriet Tubman East & West
Resource Inc 1900 Chicago Ave.
Resource Inc Chrystal Spectrum
Resource Inc Lighthouse
Shakopee Women’s Correctional facility
Charles & Barbara Keffer
Michelle Grabanski Pohlad
Elena Brito Sifferlin
Mary A Smith
Marilyn and Alan Youel
Mary Ann Zervas
Board of Directors
Director and President Colleen Maiers Principal, Loring Professional Group
Director and Secretary Anne Johnson Director of Human Resources, Union Gospel Mission
Director and Treasurer Patricia A. Gilbert Independent Consultant, Bethel University MBA Coach
Director Janice Andersen Director of Christian Life, Basilica of St. Mary
Director Susan Stabile Director, Office for Spirituality, St. Thomas University
Director David Bateson President, Bateson Consulting LLC
Director Matthew Langhout Art Director, ADX Labs
Director Margaret Mannix Spiritual Director, National Program Director, Retired, Ignatian Volunteer Corps