Rebecca Moczulewski is a graduate student in religious studies at Cardinal Stritch College. By Rebecca Moczulewski I am currently working on a series of paintings that deal with the issue of race and contemplate African American racial justice in the U.S. In 2012, I completed a series of twelve watercolor paintings to tell the story of Repairers of the Breach, Daytime Homeless Shelter and Resource Center in Milwaukee. The work has been exhibited in a dozen locations. The purpose of "Homeless, Not Hopeless" is to promote awareness of homelessness, poverty, and this organization's great work.
A context within Repairers of the Breach where the value of faith lives is our Brown Bag Lunch series. During this one-hour setting (several Fridays per month), homeless members and people from supporting congregations or other organized groups gather together as equals to break bread and study the week’s chosen Gospel lesson. We use an African interfaith model of scripture study—a process of reflection with a non-judgmental emphasis on sharing from the heart. Each Brown Bag Lunch is sponsored by a “host group,” typically a church. As many come from the farther reaches of Waukesha and Ozaukee counties as from local churches. The host group supplies a small group of participants and lunches for the session. The meal typically includes a sandwich, potato chips, fruit and a cookie, all in a small brown bag. A beverage, usually fruit juice or milk, is served in plastic cups by Repairers' members—who are ambassadors to their visitors. Members of Repairers are encouraged to visit with their guests as they eat this simple lunch.
After twenty minutes or so, host group members co-lead blended groups of homeless members and host group visitors, to discuss the Gospel verse which the host group has provided. Each member of the small group is encouraged to participate according to a simple, prescribed format, which involves reading the Gospel verse, then asking for comments. The reading and commentary are repeated several times to encourage a full understanding of the verse. These sessions are meaningful, for members and visitors alike. Approximately twenty groups prepare Brown Bag Lunches for the members of Repairers of the Breach, and a few of these “double up,” as some prefer making lunches and others will take their lunch break on a Friday to spend time at the center. Lunch makers are often groups of people that cannot take the time on a Friday, but can spend Thursday night preparing brown bag lunches. We are always looking for more people to make lunches and have an inspiring experience of praying with members of Repairers of the Breach. Please consider becoming a host group or host church for our Brown Bag Lunch scripture/prayer series. This involves the commitment of a small team, approximately once every six months. If you have any interest in having a meaningful Brown Bag Lunch experience—whether you’re an individual or part of a group—please fill out the Get Involved form now. All interested persons of all faiths are welcome to partake.
Pledged to Reduce Violence - I took photos of Robert sporting the Violence Reduction pin in the yard at the shelter. Afterward, I walked around the neighborhood, looking for an ideal ground to suit the composition and show where violence reduction training has made a real impact. My interest had been piqued when Dorothy, the director of programming, told a group at my church about a gentleman who went through the Violence Reduction program, made this pledge and dramatically changed his life. Just think how far Repairers’ violence reduction initiative can reach.
Serving Each Other - This painting alludes to Repairers’ unique operating model: It’s a daytime shelter run by and for the homeless. Members not only share a meal, but also serve it. This empowerment model succeeds because it recognizes and honors the basic principles of all social teaching, including the dignity and value of each person’s life, and the dignity of work.