Dear GPFP Friends,
I am overjoyed to accept the position of Executive Director of Greater Portland Family Promise. I believe in the mission of this organization with all my heart. The thirty-year track record and the innovative approach of utilizing already existing community resources assures me that this is the right program for the Greater Portland area, right now.
A few years ago, a seed was planted in my heart when the children of the church which I pastor, HopeGateWay, made fleece tie blankets, for the children who were at that time sleeping on the floor of the General Assistance office because there was no room for them or their families in the family shelter. As we blessed those blankets in worship and told the story of those children, something cracked open in me and my connection with this place of injustice in our city has grown from that day forward.
When the city reached out to the faith communities for help with this crisis, my first thought was of the Interfaith Hospitality Network, now known as Family Promise. Through hundreds of conversations over the last 16 months, I have found resonance for my passion for this program in fellow clergy, members of the interfaith community, and individuals not connected with any faith community. This intentional model of creating a sustainable future for people whose lives have fallen apart to the point that they find themselves homeless just makes sense.
I look forward to working with the amazing network of support we have already been building and spreading the news to the public so that we can all work together in this community building effort. I can’t wait to welcome families who find themselves in the middle of a crisis into the hospitality of our program and the system of support that awaits them. One of the benefits that I celebrate the most is that in our efforts to work together around one cause — housing families experiencing homelessness — the barriers that exist between all of our various religions, sects, denominations, and ethnic groups will dissipate. I am empowered by the vision that we together we can build the Beloved Community.
Peace, Salaam, Shalom,
Rev. Sara Ewing-Merrill