Wednesday, December 30, 2009

PASADENA WEEKLY: Coats of Compassion

All Saints is overwhelmed with more than 500 coats donated to the poor following Bacon’s call for help

By Carl Kozlowski 12/24/2009 [source link]

Pasadena’s All Saints Church has long held a reputation for being one of the most progressive and activist churches in the nation when it comes to helping the poor, especially at Christmastime.

But even leaders of this über-generous house of worship didn’t expect the huge response they received from concerned community members following a special sermon by Rector Ed Bacon on Dec. 12.

Recounting the story of a medieval bishop who decreed that a person is committing a sin if they have more than one unused coat in their closet, Bacon urged parishioners to bring their unused coats in as donations that would transform the winter garments from “sin coats” to “compassion coats.”

The results were overwhelming, with more than 500 coats being donated from parishioners alone — and hundreds more coming in from other parts of the community.

“It’s a great human interest story,” said All Saints Director of Communications Keith Holeman. “We did this three years ago and we’ve already surpassed that with about 500 coats already in and there’s been an interesting ripple effect in the community that we didn’t see before. Westridge School became aware of the coat drive and held one of their own, and they’ve collected 50 to 60 coats. Plus,” Holeman said, “a real estate agent in the parish sent a letter to his clients saying ‘we’ve benefitted from each other over the years and now we need to help others.’ He sent out about 150 letters and as of a couple of days ago he’s received about 50 coats. Then an All Saints staff member’s daughter is collecting coats at her office Christmas Party instead of doing Secret Santa this year. And there will be more stories coming.”

The coats will be delivered to the Dolores Mission, run by Catholic priest Father Greg Boyle, as well as the Ecumenical Council Pasadena Area Churches (ECPAC) Bad Weather Shelter, ECPAC’s Women’s Room program and to Families in Transition for homeless families in the Pasadena Unified School District.


[Note: The total reached over 1200 coats and jackets received for distribution!]

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