Adult and youth leaders from the FaithWorks congregations collaborated in planning the October 26 “Lock Out” held at Atonement.

The total group of 30 gathered at Atonement and then divided into groups visiting the Women’s Resource Center and SAFE Haven. At the Women’s Resource Center, the kids hosted an “unbirthday party” for the kids, complete with crafts, play time and cupcakes. They learned more about the needs of women and children who relocate to the Center in order to live in a safe environment. Those who visited SAFE Haven heard the stories shared by three teens staying there. They were told that those seeking refuge are only allowed to stay for two weeks and that they are expected to do chores and meet other expectations during their stay.

Returning to Atonement, the young people gathered around the wood fires prepared in three fire pits set up for the evening. The fires, cardboard boxes, blankets, sleeping bags and warm jackets and mittens helped take the edge off the cold temperatures, which plummeted below freezing.

The outside activities of dinner, sharing of feelings and reactions to the experiences at the Women’s Resource Center and SAFE Haven, playing games, having a mummy-making contest, watching a movie, participating in a youth led worship service were all part of a night not soon to be forgotten by those willing to get a small taste of what it feels like to be homeless. The group was grateful that the wood lasted until sunrise, after which the kids were welcomed into the church for a hot breakfast hosted by Emmaus participants.