Robert Kinghorn is a deacon in the Archdiocese of Toronto and a homilist on the Daily TV Mass. In his new book, The Church on the Street, he invites readers to walk with him as he ministers in a Toronto neighbourhood known for drugs, prostitution and homelessness. To order a copy of his book click HERE.
Deacon Robert was interviewed by the Archdiocese of Toronto. To read the complete article click HERE.
What are the greatest challenges you face while ministering on the street?
Ministry on the street is the same as all ministries of presence. The rules are simple: Show up, listen, don’t judge, don’t fix.
One of the greatest challenges is continually reminding myself that the only “success” in this ministry is for me to continue showing up. That’s it! If I start having an agenda, then I have lost the script that was laid down by Jesus many years ago and I will quickly burn out. If my agenda is to get people to stop doing drugs, to give up prostitution or to “come to Jesus” (whatever that means), then I will burn out quickly.
I have never heard anyone on the street say, “I am sure glad I am on drugs” or “I always wanted to grow up to be a prostitute.” They don’t want to be there and don’t need me to tell them that. But for sure they need and want someone who will listen to them and accept them so they can see hope in their lives and one day leave this all behind.
Part of the “showing up” is committing to the ministry regardless of whether the temperature is plus 20 degrees or minus 20 degrees, since those on the street on these nights often have few other options.
I have often been surprised by the times I have met someone that I have no recollection of meeting, but they say, “I know you. I have seen you out there.”