Streetside Showers
Synod of the Sun


 Synod of the Sun article
 

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First Presbyterian Church of Plano, TX adds to the blessing of Street Showers, a mobile trailer that provides "20 minutes of hot, soapy solitude", by bringing clothes to those who take
advantage of the shower.

Good News Stories!

The Synod of the Sun is publishing Good News Stories ahead of Synod Sunday on August 23rd. These are inspirational stories of churches reaching out to their communities in extraordinary times via innovative means. These stories will continue throughout 2020 to educate and inspire ministry everywhere!

Our theme for Synod Sunday 2020 is Hope Through Connection, Unhindered by Walls and we look to I Thessalonians 1:3 - (We) remember before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Find more information about Synod Sunday, including our video What does 'Hope Through Connection' mean to you, at: https://www.synodsun.org/synod-sunday

First Presbyterian Church, Plano, TX
Showers and Blessings
by Matt Curry

PLANO, Texas – The people of First Presbyterian Church of Plano are adding blessings to the showers a local organization provides for homeless people.

The church, north of Dallas, has operated a clothes pantry for 53 years, but that ministry was paused when the building was closed due to the pandemic. Thankfully, this turned out to be not an ending but a new opportunity for the church to serve others.

First-Plano connected with an organization called Street Showers, which provides a weekday mobile shower unit for the homeless. On Wednesdays, church volunteers haul clothes from the pantry and other items purchased from area thrift stores to bless the recipients of the showers.

First-Plano is among churches throughout the Synod of the Sun that are finding ways to respond creatively to ministry challenges during the coronavirus outbreak. Often, this involves partnerships with other ministries to accomplish what neither could do alone.

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Sharing a parking lot location in Plano, the Street Showers trailer and the people of First Presbyterian Church of Plano, TX get to work helping as they uniquely can.

“They have this mobile shower unit. We looked at what they are doing and said, ‘we can help you guys,’” said Ted McKown, a church elder not currently serving on session.

Street Showers brings a mobile trailer to underserved communities “to provide our guests with 20 minutes of hot, soapy, solitude so they may leave with a heightened sense of dignity,” according to its Web site.

Lance Olinski began Street Showers in 2017 with a small trailer containing two bathrooms and shower stalls. He takes the trailer to locations in the Dallas area, including Plano on Wednesdays.

McKown said the church discovered it could “add value” to this ministry by bringing clothes to the shower location in Plano every Wednesday, where 30-40 people are served. Street Showers provides guests with new underwear, a bag of toiletries, and a clean towel.

“They would shower and put their old clothes on, and we thought, ‘we can do better than that.’ We have a clothes closet at our church that has been going about 53 years. Now during covid, we’ve shut down the building,” said McKown, who also moderates the church’s mission study team.

So now, the clothes closet is going to where the people gather who need it – just another example of how the Church of Jesus Christ is being the Church during challenging times. Often, people arrive before the showers are open to pick out the clean clothes they will be putting on afterward.

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Members of First Presbyterian Church of Plano, TX sort clothes in preparation for the arrival of the shower trailer the next day.

On Tuesday nights, about five church workers sort and prepare items for the next day’s donations. When they are short of clothing needed for that week, they shop local thrift shops to fill the void. Others donate money to fund purchases.

Gary Schultz, who also serves on the mission study team, said they discovered Street Showers while searching for opportunities in which a small congregation with limited resources could make a difference in the community. The partnership with Street Showers made sense, and the church produced a YouTube video inviting neighboring churches to join the effort.

Schultz and his wife Judy said participating in the ministry has been “eye opening,” especially because of the opportunity to build relationships, which destroys stereotypes.

Among the recipients of clothes are those who are preparing for job interviews or who are underemployed – not making enough money to provide for daily needs. Judy Schultz met a gig worker who lost her contract job setting up stages for performances, due to the virus.

“There’s a real satisfaction knowing you are going right to the people in need,” her husband said. “There’s no middleman.”

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The Rev. Matt Curry is in search of Good News from ministries throughout the Synod of the Sun that are making connections with their congregations and communities. Do you have an idea to share? Send Matt an email at cpcwaxpastor@gmail.com.

First Presbyterian Church in Plano has produced a video that explains how the ministry works and invites other church to share in this outreach opportunity. See that video HERE: https://youtu.be/IaGdHX6xeMk

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