Sundays at Harvard-Epworth
Communion Service at 9:00 AM In-Person &
Worship AT 11:00 AM IN-PERSON AND on Youtube
A Message from Rev. Barbara Lemmel
Several times a year, I get a call at the church office from someone who’s just arrived in our area. Often it’s someone who’s only planning to be here for a short time, for a semester at one of Cambridge’s universities, or a year-long internship. Inevitably, the caller is looking for a place to stay. As a pastor in the area, could I please direct them to affordable, short-term housing?
Affordable housing is an increasingly urgent need, not only in Cambridge, not only in the greater Boston area, but in much of the state. You’ve read the reasons: we don’t have enough housing for the people who want it, and it’s more lucrative to build luxury housing than to build affordable housing. In addition, the status of Massachusetts’ public housing is woefully under par in many areas.
This housing crisis is the focus of GBIO’s current campaign. Founded in 1998, the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization is a collection of more that 60 organizations around greater Boston, many of them faith-based, which “works for the public good by coalescing, training, and organizing people across religious, racial, ethnic, class, and neighborhood lines….GBIO organizes people and institutions at neighborhood, city, and state levels. By engaging thousands of people in identifying important problems and using proven organizing methods to engage and develop leaders, GBIO has built and demonstrated collective strength to achieve a wide variety of goals.” (from GBIO.org) In past campaigns, GBIO has addressed health care and criminal justice reform, among other issues. They have an impressive success rate!
Next Sunday, March 3, GBIO is planning a public action toward housing justice, seeking to urge state legislation to address three specific issues, state-wide:
- Public housing
- Affordable Homeownership and rental
- Housing assistance for individuals returning from incarceration.
The action will be held at 3:00 pm at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, at 1000 Malcolm X Blvd in Roxbury. The organizers hope to have at least 1700 people attend.
Mitch and I attended a GBIO gathering last summer, at Temple Israel in Boston, to kick off the beginning of this housing justice campaign. We were energized and impressed by GBIO’s program— partly for how well-organized it was, the large and diverse the gathering of supporters, and most of all the great joy that suffused the entire event. In subsequent months, the Massachusetts legislature passed a significant number of the goals that were presented at that GBIO gathering.
I’m looking forward to being part of the action on March 3 in Roxbury, and I encourage you to join me. You can learn more and register in the article, below. Let me know, so we can travel together! Along with our friends in many faith-based and social organizations, we can bring a voice of justice to the current housing deficit, and make a real difference toward the realization of God’s kin-dom.