There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. -Galatians 8:28
May has been declared ‘dignity’ month in the Salvation Army. We in our shelters have chosen to follow suit and make our missional themes this month ‘dignity and respect’.
All this really means is that we treat people like people. We know that if we treat people like people they will behave like, well, people.
It’s not rocket science.
Treating folks with dignity and respect emphasizes the personhood of all of the people coming through the doors. That’s the Jesus Way of doing things.
A few years back, after consulting with all of the stakeholders of our shelters across Canada, the Salvation Army released its 7 operating principles for running shelters. These are posted in all of our THHS buildings. Each of these principles, as you can see in the above picture, emphasizes the necessity of treating people with the dignity and respect that they deserve.
We are indeed much more than an emergency shelter for many women and men. Though we are often the difference between life and death on a cold winter night on the streets, we can also be ‘the front door’ to a much broader system of supports that can help stabilize someone through a crisis that has led them to homelessness.
These are seven evidence-based outcomes that we guide our work by. As a collective, they all come down to a mission-based starting point of treating people with dignity and respect. Once people who use our programs realize that we are not treating them as just a number or a project to fix, we begin to see real healing relational work take place.
Guiding our work through these principles, with the foundation of dignity and respect, will strengthen our ability as we strive to be the hand of God in the heart of the city.
Lord of all dignity and respect,
In you there is no longer
Jew or Gentile,
Male or female
Rich or poor
Housed or homeless
We are all one in You
Help us to treat each person we encounter with dignity;
No matter what!
With your help,
Give us direction in our attempts to advocate for the dignity and respect that all people deserve.
We pray that everyone everywhere be treated as a human being
We pray for energy to reflect your hope amongst the people who use our services.
Make us instruments of your overwhelming love,