Homeless Encampments and Community in Woodinville, WA

When there was "no room at the inn" for someone like her, Mary was forced to give birth to Jesus in a manger, out in the cold and among the sheep and cows. "No room at the inn" is, sadly, a frequent refrain in our society today, and many people find themselves without regular shelter this winter season. One stopgap remedy for this crisis is homeless encampments, which are often just as unwelcome in urban and suburban communities as Mary and Joseph were at the inn 2,000 years ago.

As followers of One who was born in a manger, however, the church can and does practice a more radical form of welcome. In the Seattle Times, the Rev. Meredith Dodd--pastor of Bear Creek United Methodist Church in Woodinville, Washington--shares a reflection on how a homeless encampment her church sponsors made the neighborhood stronger and better connected.

The encampment, Camp Unity Eastside, is a transitional mobile encampment and self-managed community that houses about 50 people. Although Rev. Dodd is clear that encampments "are not a solution to homelessness," they provide stability, security, and community, "the foundation on which new lives can be built."

Read an excerpt from Rev. Dodd's reflection below:

"I serve as pastor of Bear Creek United Methodist Church, a congregation that hosts Camp Unity Eastside, a homeless encampment of about 50 people. Our church is in a residential area of Woodinville, near two elementary schools, a grocery store, a pharmacy and the public library. Our neighborhood is not only residential, it embodies suburbia. And hosting a homeless encampment has made our neighborhood stronger and better connected in ways I had never imagined."

Read the rest here!


Nicholas Laccetti

Nicholas Laccetti is the Ministry with the Poor communicator, based out of the offices of the General Board for Global Ministries in New York City. He received his M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in 2015, where he studied the intersections between popular religion, theology, and social change.

About This Blog

Read and comment on a range of personal reflections and perspectives about poverty and Ministry with the Poor. Our goal is to attract diverse voices and points of view from United Methodists and friends, including people and communities living in conditions of poverty, other experts, religious leaders, community organizers, advocates, policy makers, volunteers, and all engaged in Ministry with the Poor.