A Statement from Members of the Bedford Clergy Association

Across Bedford’s boundaries of denominations and faith traditions, hospitality to strangers is a common affirmation.  For more than two years, volunteers from all our faith communities have worked together to welcome the transitional residents of the Plaza Hotel as members of the Bedford community.  Despite enormous stresses in the lives of these newcomers, Bedford is our home together.

Some of these residents care for their families, others work, some children attend our schools, they patronize our businesses, and some participate in our communities of faith.  In a bad situation, these families work hard and do the best they can.

The need for temporary housing in Bedford is symptomatic of systemic failures to prevent homelessness, promote self-sufficiency, provide affordable housing, and create jobs with a living wage in our region.  Many Bedford residents, whether living at the Plaza Hotel or not, are hurting for these same reasons.

We recognize the significant stresses that are placed on school and town budgets and services.  We know that unfunded mandates are poor public policy and only solve some problems by creating others.

We are also apprehensive that these stresses can provoke base reactions of xenophobia and racism.   Our experience and expectation is that Bedford will remain a welcoming community, and that as a town we will continue to be generous of spirit toward all our neighbors.

Because it is a systemic failure, homelessness must be addressed foremost at the state and federal levels.  We appreciate the creativity, resourcefulness, and commitment shown thus far by our town residents, employees, and leaders.  We stand ready to work with, support, and challenge our local, state and federal representatives as they strategize to insistently and thoughtfully address the root causes of homelessness, and to secure appropriate funding and reimbursement for our local community.

While this situation remains a challenge, it has been for us personally an opportunity to deepen both our understanding of the causes of homelessness and our own capacity for personal generosity and hospitality.  We remain committed to Bedford being a compassionate community that welcomes diversity, challenge, and opportunity.   We invite others to join us in that commitment

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Bruce Nickerson
Bruce Nickerson
8 years ago

For I
was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave
me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Just quoting.

Ted Martin
Ted Martin
8 years ago

The sad part is, perhaps most if not all of the critics, would call themselves “Christians”, in reality they do not even know what a Christian is, or would do “to help the least among us”; also being Tea Party folk or of that ilk, their primary concern is self.

8 years ago

Here we go again with “xenophobia and racism”.

Amy Lindstedt Kelly
Amy Lindstedt Kelly
8 years ago
Reply to  Forch

yes, its very sad to find it here in Bedford, isn’t it?

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