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All of Us Are One, Street Pulse

Upon Meeting Mark Wilson

Written by Ronnie Barbett

I went inside this church, down a hall, down some steps. It said ‘Pentecost Room’ on the sign. Then around the hall, way down some more steps to this open room, it was inviting. There he was sitting at this round table fumbling around a pair of eyeglasses like he knew he could fix them. It was at this moment my sarcastic Washington, D.C. sense of humor kicked in. I knew then that there wasn’t a damn thing this white man could do for me. It was the middle of the month of June, and I really had no one else to turn to. I was homeless.

Now it’s December, many heroes surround me, helping me not only survive homelessness but to overcome the many obstacles dealing with it. The man was Mr. Mark Wilson of the Homeless Ministry Service located at Bethel Lutheran Church at 312 Wisconsin Ave. Upon meeting Mark Wilson, Mr. Wilson’s room was full of chairs, round tables, and a couple of service rooms. The rooms contained clean donated clothing for the homeless given out on Wednesday and Thursday from 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. by Barb, a loyal volunteer and partner of the Mark Wilson Homeless Ministry. The other service room is for those with the computer skills to go online, etc. The main room is the center of focus for homeless services offered one-on-one by Mark Wilson’s staff of volunteers. Transportation counseling, friendship, spiritual healing are only a few of the many issues discussed in this place. Yes, this church offers a moment of prayer for those into it but with a difference. The prayer is an individual prayer for those that attend. After the individual tells how his life went on for the week, the church’s pastor blesses each one and they actually know your name, your troubles. You feel better when you’re there. You feel better as you leave.

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About Operation Welcome Home

OWH is a group of homeless people in Madison, WI and their allies organizing around the root causes of homelessness- racism, poverty, and criminalization. We are fighting for housing, jobs, and an end to the criminalization of poverty.

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