By Barkley Thompson
With nowhere else to sleep and the hunger pangs in my stomach increasing in intensity, I approached the door of the Rescue Mission with fear and trembling. I didn’t want to spend the night exposed to the elements in Elmwood Park, but I didn’t want to sleep at the Rescue Mission either. I’d heard stories about violence, drug use and other frightening behavior at the Mission. Even so, a meal, shower and bed were better than the alternatives.
After pausing to say a quick prayer, I opened the Rescue Mission’s door and entered a room crowded with other men upon whose faces were expressions ranging from frustration to drone-like stupefaction to (in my case) deer in headlamps.
Thompson is an Episcopal priest and is the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Roanoke.