Monday, April 12, 2010

prayers and processions - a night's respite

another from the weekly series on faith and it's expression in our community.


Julie Burks slips off her shoes and exhales softly.

She pulls her coat over her purse – her pillow for the night - then lays down and stares into the distance.

“It feels good that I'm not out in the cold,” says Burks, who is homeless. “When I was out there, the first thing I would do is drink. I would shiver all night - I didn't sleep. At least drinking keeps me warm.”

Burks is trying to kick the habit and has been clean for the past few days.

On this night, she and other homeless people are sleeping at Lynnhaven United Methodist Church in Virginia Beach. Burks is one of dozens assisted by Volunteers of America, which works in partnership with area faith communities to provide shelter throughout the winter.

It's a respite from the cold nights.

“I can handle it out there, but it's very difficult, especially when you're trying to stay sober and get your life back in order,” Burks says. “When I'm out on the street, you have to watch your back. You don't know what's out there.

"Here I don't have to worry about any of that.”


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