BOARDING HOMES MINISTRY
Responding to COVID-19
As of this time, Boarding Homes Ministry has again suspended all in-person house visits. Our annual festive meals in the homes will be delivered, but we will not be celebrating together until it is safe to do so. Our teams and the residents miss each other, and we continue to send letters and care packages. We have hope, and we look foward to being together once again.
In the meantime, we continue to offer our Mental Health Inclusion workshops for congregations and community groups via video. In addition to our usual offerings, we have been offering a module on COVID-19 and mental health.
Good things are on the horizon in 2021: first-person documentary videos will be added to enrich the workshops and help deepen participants' empathy for people living with mental illness. And we are building towards a new Affordable Psychotherapy program. So many urgent mental health needs have gone unmet in this pandemic, and we want to be part of making care more accessible.
BHM co-creates communities of welcome and inclusion
with people who live with mental illness, addictions, and poverty.
Through home visits and community education, we reduce social isolation wrought by stigma.
Through non-denominational spiritual care, we meet deep human needs
for recognition, connection, and meaning.
Society is strengthened and health is improved when we practice inclusion.
BHM sees people’s gifts and celebrates them, and we create community together.
A word from a longtime volunteer.
"I am one of the initial volunteers with Boarding Homes Ministry. During
that long time I have learned the significance of
. the power of listening
. being reliable in friendship
. the beauty of hearing a resident repeating the Lord's Prayer in his first
language as others repeated in English
. showing love by sharing food treats
. presence and being quiet together
. accepting that what happens may be a mystery
I am blessed by the residents I have known and my relationships.
BHM values and practices inclusion, particularly the inclusion of people living with mental illness. We practice inclusion through shared hospitality, attentive companionship, community education, and affordable psychotherapy.
Because the core of this ministry is our home visits, we value reverent attention. Although people in the homes have often been stigmatized or rejected, we try to see them and appreciate them for who they are. Because the people we visit have often been abandoned, we visit faithfully.
We value celebration. With food, we celebrate birthdays, ordinary days, sobriety, survival. We encourage second helpings. Generosity affirms that each individual deserves much more than the minimum.
We value mutuality. We don’t just give, we receive. The care we give is not a one-way street: everyone has something to offer. Even sharing silence together is a gift.
We value diversity. We don’t impose our beliefs or values. We offer spiritual and emotional support according to the needs of each person.
We believe firmly in agenda-free presence: simply appreciating the person, never trying to evaluate, assess, or change them.
Inclusion begins with truly seeing each other, and taking delight in each other.
"We are called to live in joyful communion with God and neighbour"
A boarding homes resident gets a haircut by our volunteer Maddy
* All residents pictured on our site have enthusiastically agreed to be featured
Rev. Rodger Hunter- BHM Founder, starting up the barbecue at a visit
Team members Andi, Jim, and Maddy meet up before a house visit
"My mom has died, my dad is old, and I’m an only child. I’m really worried that I’ll be lonely. That’s why I need you guys."
— a Resident
"There are friends, and there are friends no matter what happens. You guys treat me better than my real family. You are the alpha and omega of friendship and love. No matter what, you never abandon us."
— a Resident
"I don’t know what I'd do without Wednesdays. It’s the only thing that gets my mind off the hassles. There are so many people out there just giving me a hard time. On Wednesday I can look forward to seeing you guys. I can get out of the house and actually communicate with people."