Monday, July 20, 2009

Vancouver, Canada 3

Hi, America!

More from the Vancouver Streets. The jewelry shop above seems to be doing OK at this particular hour on this particular day. At least, not all the visitors and shoppers are Caucasians from the USA and Europe. That may be a good sign.
However, for the little neighborhood grocery and market below the picture is different. His "Blow Out Sale--Everything Must Go--Don't Miss Your Chance" is his last attempt to bring in a bit of revenue before he closes. The economy and the changing neighborhood had hit hard. Especially when there are other nearby shops that sell essentially the same thing. That will leave a hole in the neighborhood.

But other things have been changing in the neighborhood also. Libraries are an important feature of any community, any city. Vancouver has a stunning new one. Huge interior atrium. Stunning glass and architecture. A far cry from the Carnegie library that once served the city from a corner on E. Pender Street. This beautiful mosaic is out front on the sidewalk right at the corner entrance.

But it's no longer a library. It's a community center. That's a good thing. Lots of services are needed in this community. But they probably aren't the kind of services one might expect to find at a community center in other neighborhoods. Things like organic gardening classes and summer reading and recreation programs for youngsters out of school, knitting and weaving groups for seniors.

No, this sturdy old building probably provides showers for people on the street, 12-step programs, diversion groups.

Might even have a clothes closet and a food pantry. Life-saving stuff.

Maybe a place to use a phone or a computer. A place to sit down for a few minutes. Take a pee. Maybe even a locker to store your stuff for an hour.

Might serve as a resource center for public housing, a place to come in off the street when it's cold and wet out--which is a lot of the year in Vancouver, BC.

It no doubt has other unofficial uses due to its location. Such as a landmark for making a deal on the corner. Other people will be coming and going. No one will notice. . . .

Until someone does. . .

While the two female officers were making this bust in front of the Carnegie, a woman was standing right outside the coffee shop door a block down taking care of her own private "business" with the butane lighter and her little pipe. 10:30 in the morning. It didn't matter to her whether she was in Chinatown or Beijing. So long as that little pipe and lighter did what she wanted. What her body needed more than anything else. As businesses close, there will be less shopping and more "street sales".

So often, when Jesus came ashore on Lake Galilee or entered a town, a crowd formed. People desperately needed some good news, a reason to live and go on another day.

Someone has heard the call "Follow Me" in Vancouver. Right up the street. Stay tuned. . .


Pastor Roger

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