I just found out from Janelle’s blog, about the fire at the Simple Way house in Philadelphia. This is where Shane Claiborne and others live and do their ministry. And to hear about this tragedy is a real shame. Many of us really appreciate and look up to way Claiborne and the Simple Way have sought to embody God’s love in practical ways (I have written about Claiborne here and here). Fortunately no one was hurt but the first has left a number of families homeless.
The Simple Way website says,
This morning, a 7-alarm fire consumed an abandoned warehouse in our Kensington neighborhood in Philadelphia. The Simple Way Community Center at 3200 Potter Street was destroyed as well as at least eight of our neighbors homes. Over 100 people were evacuated from their homes, and 400 families are currently without power. Despite this tragedy, we are incredibly thankful to share that all of our community members and every one of our neighbors is safely out of harms way.
This fire will forever change the fabric of our community. Eight families are currently homeless, and in many cases have lost their vehicles as well as their homes. One of our neighbors, the Mahaias Family, lost their three cars as well as the equipment one family member uses for her massage therapy business. Teenager Brian Mahaias is devastated not because he has lost his belongings, but because he fears that this fire will force him to move away from this neighborhood that is his family as well as his home.
And blogger, Billy from The Ashram, says,
I am deeply saddened to report that the Simple Way house at 3200 Potter Street was very badly damaged, and from what I’ve heard, has been condemned and will probably be torn down soon. I just got off the phone with Chris Lahr and he told me that apparently everyone is ok, though it sounds like Shane made a pretty narrow escape and everyone has lost a lot of valuable personal articles. I think that I can safely speak for anyone who has ever been to 3200 Potter when I say that we’ve all lost something that is a vital part of our unfolding communal story. This place has truly been one of the most important and life changing destinations for Christian pilgrims in America over the course of the last decade.
And I agree with Janelle who says, “It’s important that we pray for this community in Philly. They are trailblazers and way-preparers.”