Few things in life are more important than living in community with others. It’s a necessary ingredient for the success of men at the mission in their transition to independent living. It’s also something foreign to them in the first place and one of the reasons they landed at skid row. This week Deed & Truth launched a new ministry to develop community for our program grads and the men I live with on the 5th floor.
This past Thursday we loaded up the shuttles and headed downtown. Twenty-five guys joined me as we unloaded at the Regal Cinema @ L.A. Live. We purchased 26 tickets to see “The Magnificent Seven”. It was a remake of an old western with themes such as male bonding, bad guys that transform into good guys, and sacrificing in the service of others. The guys totally enjoyed themselves. They loved the movie and they really enjoyed just hanging out with their brothers. This was our first “Band of Brothers” activity.
Band of Brothers is a monthly event Deed and Truth will be sponsoring to encourage camaraderie and community with our men who have graduated the program and are in their second year, either working or going to school. I have noticed that they are tending to revert to old patterns of isolation after they finish the intensive, highly structured, one-year program. In an effort to keep them living in community we are creating contexts to bond with their brothers.
James is a 68 year old man who lives in our seniors wing on the fifth floor. I rarely see James. He doesn’t socialize much. He and I had an opportunity to have a personal conversation on the ride over to the theatre. He told me he hadn’t been to a movie theatre since he was 15 years old. He was so excited. Upon returning to the mission, I asked James if he enjoyed himself. He said, “Thank you Pastor. It’s been over 50 years since I’d been to the movies and it was a thrill. I am going to frame my movie ticket and hang it in my room.”
The men are looking forward to our next event. We are off to a magnificent start. If you would like to help us with the Band of Brothers I invite you to come to one of our events. If you can’t participate in person you may wish to donate towards the expenses. Either way, we’d love to have you become a part of our “Band of Brothers” at the URM.
– Pastor Dan
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