CityReach is an overnight urban outreach program begun in March 1996 for youth (with accompanying adults), young adults, and college students from churches of any denomination. The program gives these young people the opportunity to learn first hand about homelessness from people who have experienced it. During the 20 hour session, participants join CityReach staff in street ministry and offer hospitality, food and clothing. This is followed by times of sharing and reflection.
The program starts on Friday evening and ends on the following Saturday afternoon. Participants arrive at 7 p.m. Friday night, and are addressed by staff who are experiencing, or have experienced, homelessness. They walk through the city guided by members of Common Cathedral
and end the evening with a simple worship service. Participants sleep at a local church. On Saturday morning participants offer clothing that they have collected and a simple meal to unhoused guests who come to “shop” for clothing from among the donated items. Participants form teams for street outreach, taking sandwiches and clothes to people at South Station, Copley Square, Boston’s waterfront and other sites. All then eat lunch and reflect together about their experiences in light of the Gospel, write a prayer, and talk about next steps for them personally and/or as a group. Housed participants prepare to present their experiences to their home congregations.
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