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Side by SideMeet Rev. Linda Kelly-Baker and Side-by-Side Ministries With the Homeless

Listen to interview with Rev. Linda Kelly-Baker

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Linda Kelly BakerFor many years John lived in a tent. He began to show up at the morning prayer circle led by Rev. Linda Kelly-Baker at Side-by-Side Ministries With the Homeless. John began to feel that God still loved him. Listen to this month's podcast as Rev. Kelly-Baker talks to staff writer, Mary Beth Coudal, about John and the ministry and power of compassionate, in-depth listening. Side-by-Side creates a spirit-filled community of hope and love for those too often overlooked.

Rev. Linda Kelly-Baker is the founder and director of Side-By-Side Ministries, which provides spiritual care without judgment or proselytizing. Rev. Kelly-Baker runs Side-By-Side with 10 volunteers whom she recruits, trains, and supervises. Volunteers facilitate morning prayer circles and meet with people as spiritual companions. Volunteers come from a variety of faiths, denominations, and ethnic traditions.

The ministry provides a safe, positive setting for community building through small groups, annual retreats, weekly musical jam sessions, and prayer services. Side-By-Side offers a place to turn for strength, hope, and purpose, helping people move forward toward living a more positive life and finding a way to health, wholeness, and transformation.

Rev. Kelly-Baker officiates at memorial services, an average of 28 annually, which are vital to the grieving process, and at the occasional wedding, which provides an opportunity to celebrate love.

After listening to Rev. Kelly-Baker's conversation for the SPSARV podcast series, "Speak About It!" start your own conversation around issues of homelessness, addiction, and hope. SPSARV Program Associate Juliana M. Mecera offers the following questions as discussion starters:

Podcast Study Questions:

  1. Rev. Linda pointed out how much of a difference it makes to people to have someone "journey" with them--to know that they have someone to share their stories and lives with. Recall a time when the simple gift of someone's presence made a difference in your life.
  2. Deep, compassionate listening requires being fully present with another person. When we give of ourselves in this way we express God-like grace, as the apostle Paul describes in Ephesians 2:6-10. Read Ephesians 2:6-10. How does this understanding of grace inform the reasons and ways you think your church can respond to substance abuse and addiction?
  3. What are ways you can offer God-like grace to congregants and community members faced with the pain of the disease of addiction in their lives?

The monthly "Speak About It!" SPSARV podcast series offers an opportunity to hear the voices of the many ministries throughout The United Methodist Church where people are working to create healing from substance abuse and addiction. The SPSARV office offers hope and healing for all people, families, and churches that are living with diseases of addiction.