top of page

What are churches doing?

I attended State Senator Tim Salazar’s town meeting at the Riverton library. Sen. Salazar, recently appointed to the Wyoming Senate’s powerful Appropriations Committee, asked us for advice on how Wyoming’s unexpected “surplus” in revenues should be allocated. I asked him to find funds for a homeless shelter in Riverton.

Another constituent piped up immediately that the government should not fund a homeless shelter because that is the responsibility of churches. I saw an opportunity. I let them know that the Riverton Peace Mission is considering sponsoring a Homelessness Summit and hoped churches would participate.

A leader of the Christian Motorcycle Association spoke up that Riverton has 38 churches. He wondered what they might do if they came together. I agree. What churches in Riverton couldn’t do should they unite to serve those in need in our community! Not in competition, but in cooperation. Not to convert, but to serve.

Churches with buildings could open their doors to lodging. Their kitchens could be for cooking hot meals. A few fix breakfasts, others provide lunch. Some provide clothing. How about restrooms where people can freshen up, maybe even take a shower. Churches with land in town could provide space for tents. Churches providing hospitality. You can’t get any more biblical than that.

A caveat, however. Respect of Indigenous people’s traditions and culture needs to be central. Churches must no longer perpetuate institutional racism and colonization. Jesus was about truth-telling, setting prisoners free, and challenging the oppressors while lifting up those at the bottom.

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, says “Charity and small change are not enough.” To end poverty, to end racism, requires new ways of doing. It’s not government or churches; it’s all institutions and individuals combining our energy and resources plus the will for big change.

You can help. If you belong to a church, ask your church to support the Riverton Peace Mission to create ways that government, churches, and others can come together to address root causes of poverty and to find lasting solutions. You can volunteer and contribute directly. Together we make a difference.

Fear not. Be humble. Have faith. Be bold. Build relationships. Do justice.

Chesie Lee

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

In 2019, the Riverton Peace Mission (RPM) came into being. Our first issue was in response to the police killing of Andy Antelope outside the Riverton Walmart. I envisioned an organization where Indig

Healing happened at the 75 th Anniversary of the Northern Arapaho Powwow on the Wind River Indian Reservation (WRIR) when the new Riverton City Chief of Police Eric Hurtado was welcomed and honored wi

As we discussed options at the Unhoused Task Force to address the goal that no one die of hypothermia in our community this winter, we had an awakening. To set the stage, we are committed to having a

bottom of page