church

Every morning in the Tenderloin, when people all around San Francisco are starting to wake up, around 30 people gather at St. Boniface Church, waiting to go sleep. This is the story of one morning.

5:45 a.m.

When I arrive, I see Josephine Piroelle bundled up in two hooded sweatshirts, a hat, and mittens.

“Like a car runs on fuel, a person won’t run without any sleep,” she tells me.

Piroelle has been homeless on and off for a while. A month ago, she says, her boyfriend kicked her out of his place.

Hana Baba

While the majority of the world’s Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25th, a number of Orthodox sects follow an older-than-Gregorian calendar. They celebrate every year on January 7th. 

Michael Pisais

Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church sits on a quiet residential corner in the outer Sunset district of San Francisco. Upstairs in a meeting room, a small group is gathered around rectangular folding tables to sing Grace before they eat. The sound of a sweetly harmonized “Amen” floats up to the rafters of the high-ceilinged room.

Church members gather every week for a potluck dinner with their pastor-- to share food, fellowship, and spiritual conversation. The group has an easy familiarity with each other; most of the congregants are older folks who have lived in the neighborhood a long time, and have been going to this church for decades. As they eat dinner, Pastor Megan Rohrer plays a contemporary pop song as a launch pad for discussion.

Some heads nod to the beat, but it’s clear that this kind of music isn’t the normal fare for this group. The room is filled with graying heads. Then, there’s the 34-years-young pastor, who stands out for another reason, too.

KALW's community storytelling project Hear Here has been asking Oakland and San Francisco residents about meaningful places in their neighborhood. KALW's Alyssa Kapnik chose her place, a church, because she used to pass it on her way to the BART station. Since Kapnik is  from a totally different faith – she's Jewish – she wondered what it would be like to experience religion and God from such a different perspective. Fully aware that she’d be an outsider, she decided to go one recent Sunday, and she was the only white person in the entire congregation.

On today's Your Call, we’ll have a conversation about the Catholic Bishops' history, membership, and political connections. They are currently fighting a federal mandate that would have required all health insurance plans to provide free birth control. Why are Catholic Bishops dominating the birth control debate? Join us at 10 or email feedback@yourcallradio.org.  How does US Conference of Bishop influence policy in Washington?  It’s Your Call, with Rose Aguilar and you.

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