The Listening Post
People who live on the streets or who are otherwise vulnerable are often ignored with few chances to share their sacred stories. To address this need, two spiritual directors, Rev. Barbara F. Meyers and Karolyn Stenlund, started a project sponsored by the Faithful Fools Street Ministry which will involve creating a space where vulnerable and marginalized people can come and be listened to for free without judgment. They will be using volunteer-oriented models designed by the widely-known Sidewalk Talk organization and the Listening Post organization in Anchorage, Alaska.
This service has been provided on Thursday afternoons at the city park on the corner of Hyde and Turk in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, and will cohabit that space and work with the St. Francis Living Room organization. This project began on Thursday, October 19, 2017 and continued weekly on Thursday afternoons.
In 2018, Barbara started Sidewalk Talk events in Fremont at the Fremont Main Library twice a month, and at the Tri City Volunteers Food Bank and Thrift Shop in Fremont weekly. Members of Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation and members of the Tri City Interfaith Council were trained as listeners. Sister Annette Burkart is the point person for the events at Tri City Volunteers, and Barbara is the point person for the events at the Fremont Library.
Sidewalk Talk operations were suspended in March of 2020 when they were temporarily halted because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Here is an interview that Traci Ruble, the founder of Sidewalk Talk did with Barbara Meyers on Sept 25, 2020.