Angela Anderson – The Artur Pawlowski situation represents everything I love about humanity and loathe about Calgary.
I’ll start with the former, in keeping with my optimistic attitude I am trying to maintain as of late.
Street Church is Pawlowski and a bunch of Christian volunteers who travel around the city, mainly in what people call Needle Park, to hand out meals, clothing and most importantly, hope to those who have fallen through the cracks in Calgary – homeless people.
The fact that Pawlowski was a wealthy developer who basically gave up everything for a $2,000 per month salary for him, his wife and two children to live on, to preach to street people, is amazing, and restores my faith that not everybody cares only about materials and money.
Yes, he is a fundamentalist Christian whom I may not agree with 100% of the time, but the basic fact is that he is bringing the hopeless hope—letting them know that someone cares about them, perhaps all they are hanging onto these days.
Jeremy Klaszus’s story in this week’s Swerve was written perfectly—he explores the complexity of the situation which I think really should be simple: The city and its wealthy business people are not doing enough in the city to alleviate the problem of homelessness, so why can’t one individual continue to do what is really making a difference in these poor people’s lives?
There’s been plenty of controversy surrounding the street preacher, not from the homeless he preaches to—in fact, they seem to welcome his and his volunteers’ presence, and come out rain or snow on Sunday afternoons.
But they keep getting tickets and flack from city police and officials who seem to think they’re breaking noise rules.
Complaints are coming in from residents of nearby Bridgeland that it’s too loud.
It’s a Sunday afternoon. Get ahold of yourselves.
Many of your barbecues in the backyard cause more noise than the street church does.
In fact, as a resident of Bridgeland, I can say that I’d rather hear the music and preaching from the street church over the drunken “Ya-Hoos” and obnoxious country music (from morning to the middle of the night, by the way) of the Stampede any day!
It’s really disheartening to see how much the city, (including the Mayor, as is noted in Klaszus’ feature) opposes something so positive.
Perhaps it’s because the street church makes a portion of the population visible, that otherwise many would rather ignore.
God forbid that a tourist from abroad sees how many homeless people our “beautiful city” has.
I just don’t see how anything can be negative from this, unless of course, we live in a dictatorship that is afraid of free speech.
I beg of the city: please leave these people alone and let them preach what they want.
Artur Pawlowski gave up his riches and wealth to serve the people who many would rather forget. Couldn’t the residents and city officials of Calgary give up but a couple of hours of quiet on a Sunday afternoon for these people to feel like they are actually people?