Church on the Corner… Christine McDonald

There were two churches on the corner where I worked, one right by where I stood, and the other directly across the street from it. There was a third church just a block away, down the hill.

Three churches, all of different denominations, two of which often called the police on me. I respected them and chose not to stand on their corners on Wednesday nights or Sunday mornings during hours when they had cars and churchgoers. One of these three churches allowed me refuge from time to time, never calling the police or telling me to get away from their property, though they certainly didn’t condone behaviors such as mine, either.

In fact, this little church just off Independence Avenue never once ran me off. One time I was sitting outside of it, getting high, when an individual pulled up. I immediately stopped getting high. This individual got out of the car and smiled at me. I remember looking directly at the ground.

architectural photography of white and green church bell tower under clear sky
Photo by Dan Whitfield on

I’m sure it was my shame that motivated that almost instinctive response to individuals who tried to look me in the eye. She walked toward me and said hello. She mentioned her name, but I don’t remember it now. I was standing by now, walking off the parking lot. However, she invited me in. I remember her saying, “All are welcome.” The other two churches never did that. I knew I was not welcome in their buildings, and no one in all the years from either of those churches had ever said hello.

But this little white church had given me shelter many times. I would huddle by the front door out of the rain and out of the wind. When I tried to seek shelter from rain or snow under the awnings of the other two churches, they were quick to call the police on me.

The church on the corner of Independence Avenue and Spruce knew me well. At least I suppose they did. I was there, after all, almost daily for many years. I began to pray on the steps of that church, “If there is a God, may He hear my request to end my life today.” Simple as it was, I prayed it daily. I believed that my friends who had been murdered had found their out of this life, and that death would be my only out as well. I prayed and prayed, “The next car I get in, let that driver be the one that ends my life.”

The days and nights continued. They seemed endless. I had lost all track of time, even the year. Just endless hopelessness, a very dark place to be. Until something shifted…

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Christine C. McDonald

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

Through The Eyes of Grace – Christine C McDonald

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