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ZZZ-RETIRED September 15, 2005

I have let time get ahead of me. The closing of the shelter in the Coliseum broke my heart. But it wasn't the end of the heart break as the couple staying in UUCJ's RE wing (house) were car-jacked Monday evening at gun point in the church parking lot at about nine in the evening! The gunman put a gun into the side of her face. Their cell phones, wallet, and their last possession in the world....their car were gone. The other resident called me, “Rev. Luck, we've got trouble here!”

My home is around the corner from the church. The husband was very shaken and talking to the police; she was distraught inside, crying, “Its not fair,” and “I want to die.” It took awhile, but she was able to calm down. I made promises I pray to God I can fulfill: “We will not let you fall through the cracks. We are committed to you. We are set back, but we are not stopped.”

To complicate things the church keys are now in the possession of the robber, and there is no doubt which doors they fit! I made arrangements for everyone to spend the night elsewhere as I was sure they would feel too vulnerable to remain, but at the last minute they decided to stay. A chair was wedged under the door.

The next morning I took sausage biscuits and coffee over to the house. We talked things over. Cards were canceled. To my dismay I heard the plumbing had backed up the day before in the tub, this house has not been a home for a long time. The plumber was called, the locks were taken to a locksmith, and we made plans. I was leaving that morning for the church I serve in Ellisville, Our Home Universalist Unitarian.

As members of the church heard the news they responded with their caring; I think all were horrified that the shelter we had offered had been the scene of so much trouble. The Care Ring has been active taking food, two dropped off cash to tie our guests over, others are having them to dinner, and there is a car in the offing.

The Jackson police came for more detail, and have promised to expedite a new driver's license, which was of course a LA license. UUCJ must re-plumb the house as the pipes are antiques, but hope is rising.

At church last Sunday there were six in attendance from the UU churches in New Orleans. There was a pot luck dinner and they spoke with each other, hugged, exchanged contact information. Soon they have agreed to tell their stories during UUCJ's forum time. They need to share the stories, and we need to hear these very personal and first hand accounts. One member offered her home to one who stated she was in need during Joys and Concerns, and I hear it is going well.

And in closing, I must tell you one man who had left the shelter when I was distraught called to say he was in a wonderful camp in Alabama. He was very happy. He has no idea what his future will be, but there is hope.

The Reverend Jacqueline Luck