Volunteers bring art and healing to Burnside’s hurting

Margie brings collage supplies and examples of her work to inspire guests.

It’s not every day you meet an art chaplain, much less two in the same family. But for Margie and Roger, choosing this direction for their lives makes sense…So does volunteering at the art workshop that meets on Thursdays at the Burnside Shelter. This time is set aside for guests to enjoy a snack, be creative and build relationships.

Whenever Margie and Roger visit Burnside, bringing both their art and their passion to see the hurting find hope, it is obvious they are in their element.

The Burnside shelter holds a significant place in their hearts.

After losing a son to addiction, they know, all too well, the pain of loss and the damaging effects of addiction.

“We knew that God would not waste his life or our pain,” said Margie. “Our son had a passion to help others in life struggles similar to his own. Through this last year, God has developed in us, as a couple, a passion for others like our son.”

That passion brought them back to serve at the Mission that had served their son.

Art has been a source of comfort and healing to Margie on her own journey of grief. She realized that art could also be a key to healing for others experiencing pain.

“I hear God’s heart through the people there,” said Roger. “Rog” is eager to speak God’s words and comfort to each guest.

“The art is great because it gives [the guests] something tangible to do in a peaceful setting, even if only for an hour and a half.”

Before coming to the art workshop on a Thursday, Margie prayerfully picks out collage materials and prepares to engage with whomever God might have walk through the door. The experience has “brought healing and joy to my life,” she said.

And God always comes through. Both Margie and Roger have had powerful moments with guests.

Like Joshua, a college student interested art. “After a long conversation he agreed to let me pray for a job interview he had the following day,” said Margie. He came back to the Mission not long after, wanting to let the “art lady” know that he got the job!

Or the gentleman who sat listening to Rog talk about his family. Roger prayed with him and the “weight of guilt he seemed to carry dropped off his shoulders.”

Or the woman who had also recently lost a child and sat making a collage as a memorial for her daughter. Margie could identify with her loss.

As both Margie and Rog continue to find healing and hope, they have extended that same healing to the hurting men and women that daily step inside the Burnside Shelter.

“In Ephesians 2:10, God says that we are created to do good works, including creativity,” said Margie. “God has even prepared in advance the work for us to do.”

“There is a deep sense of peace and satisfaction when I can love freely and use my sweet spot of creativity to help others.”

Do you also have a passion for art? We need volunteers to lead the art workshops at the Burnside Shelter! Email [email protected] for more information or apply online HERE.

Art supplies for the guests can be donated to Portland Rescue Mission, Burnside Shelter at 111 West Burnside St., Portland, OR 97209