Recently I wrote two different letters to the editor about tent cities and submitted them to four different local papers. Matthew J. Carter is in town and is staying at our house. He’s encouraging me to write for the paper and tells me which ones he would always send letters to. Matt is one of my earliest influences into church life. He was a local Episcopal priest when I first met him. His church had a large black Jesus at the front that was beautiful. They took in women for emergency shelter and let them sleep on the floor. I remember Matt in his vestments walking and swinging the incense down the aisle. I was just mesmerized as a teenager. There was just so much possibility in social justice and liturgical prayer.
Then Matt and my dad got arrested for trying to take over city hospital and use it to house the homeless. In time the local bishop fired Matthew and he later started his own ministry to children. In 2001 he moved up to Estoria, Oregon and continues to serve with his wife there. He serves on the board of NLEC and comes back to St. Louis twice a year. “Things haven’t changed much politically since I left,” he says. Same kind of people in power.