By the Rev. Alex Joyner
District Superintendent, Eastern Shore District of the Virginia Conference
The traditional spot of Jesus’ birth is hardly more than a cleft in a rock. The cave beneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem preserves the location with a silver star that pilgrims kneel to kiss as they filter through the hot, crowded space that would have served as a stable. But for Joseph and Mary, it was shelter from the night.
As we see the devastating images from California in the wake of the Camp Fire, maybe you wonder [as] I do – what would we do if we lost the place we call home? How would we even start to rebuild? How could those many, many thousands of people rebuild?
A few years ago, Robert Bridges, a member of Franktown United Methodist Church here on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and his working partner, Bill Young, put together a design to create a safe, secure, shelter that anyone could construct with basic tools. Over the years they have perfected the design and now they have a model that could be set up anywhere in about 30 minutes. It’s so simple, children have been able to do the construction.
When Robert heard about the fires in California, he immediately wondered if his shelters could help. He invited others to partner in the project and they are planning a delivery as soon as possible.
I’m proud to be part of this effort. A model shelter is currently touring our District to help Robert and his nonprofit group, Shelter 2.0, to tell the story. Though it would be important at any time of year, it seems particularly appropriate to be offering shelter at a time of the year when many of us are thinking about the shelter used by Jesus’ family in their time of need.
More information about Shelter 2.0 can be found here: http://www.shelter20.com. A Go Fund Me Campaign to get shelters to those in need in California is here: https://www.gofundme.com/6g5ucy8.