Pastor sleeping outside in solidarity with area homeless

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local pastor and some of his congregation are sleeping outside in cardboard boxes to relate to the homeless.

“I know what it is to feel like no one understands you,” Pastor James Bookhout said. “Like there’s no hope in you.”

Bookhout chose to sleep in a cardboard box Friday night to show homeless people that there is someone who cares about them. He also wants to help in any way he can.

He’ll be sleeping right outside his church, Bridge Christian Church, in an area of Schenectady that Bookhout said can be unpredictable.

“It’s kind of a threatening thing,” he said. “I mean, I’m going out there, but I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight.”

Bookhout said that he wants to lead by example. He believes that to win people over, he has to meet them in their element and show them that they can trust him before they ever take him seriously.

“The bear bottom bones is we love people,” he said. “We want to help them. We want to serve them. We want to find out where they are at so that we can help them become better citizens.”

Bookhout’s church has a food pantry and a gym. They’re also installing a laundromat and showers for the homeless to use for free. He said Friday night’s show of solidarity may seem extreme to some, but it’s his way of doing what he called God’s work.

“I’m in the perfect place at the right time to do what I am called and supposed to be doing,” he said.

Bookhout and his friends will be outside all night. Temperatures will be in in the 20s, but Bookhout said that it is an honor to serve in Schenectady no matter how he is called to do so.

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