Engaging Our Neighbors Experiencing Homelessness

By Suzanne McInroy, Director of Communications

In the last year, Westminster leaders began to envision adding a staff role focused on safety for everyone engaging with the church, whether they enter the building for worship, an event, or seek shelter on church grounds. But finding someone with just the right combination of skills took some time. And then Patrick Bayle applied for the job.

Patrick has lived experience with homelessness and addiction. In 2003 he began a recovery journey and, since then, completed two degrees from Augsburg University and spent 15 years serving the community, and especially those experiencing homelessness.

“I have a mission, I have a need to help people who experience the brutality of homelessness,” Patrick explains, “because it is a very difficult way to live. And I don’t think we should treat our brothers and sisters in our society the way we do just because they cannot plug into the economic grid.”

In his first two months at Westminster as Building Hospitality and Safety Manager, Patrick has provided shelter resources to many of the individuals sleeping outside Westminster’s doors, connected interested individuals to Hennepin County housing case managers, and addressed unhealthy behaviors on the church grounds that were a concern. His next steps are to communicate more with Westminster members about homelessness and work with the already-existing efforts focused on affordable housing.

“Waking up on the concrete is a really tough way to live,” Patrick says. “And if I can give someone just a little bit of a notion that somebody sees you and somebody cares about you, that’s a real honor and fills my soul to be able to look somebody in the eye and say, ‘I see you and I want to help.’ That’s really the best part of my job.”

In this interview, hear Patrick’s passion for this work, plans for his new role, and his hope for the future.

 

 

© Westminster Presbyterian Church | 2022