The average homeless person walks 8.5 miles a day. Shelters typically make their clients leave between 9:00 and 5:00, and they have to walk New Haven’s streets. Shoes, socks, and feet take a beating. Once a year Trinity sponsors a foot-washing ceremony. This is no typical ceremony of foot-washing that traditionally and symbolically takes place on Maundy Thursday before Easter in Christian houses of worship. In the spirit of Chapel on the Green, the ultimate Mary and Martha outreach program, it combines religious spirit practical work.
In 2012, the event was was a full wash with podiatric clinic sponsored by Trinity Episcopal Church and its outreach program to the homeless, called Chapel on the Green. The service commemorates and recalls Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples. Also, Abraham’s cleaning the sand off three visitors to his tent in the desert, in Genesis, visitors who turned out to be angels.
Below is a video filmed by Ronald L. Grimes while at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music, who has kindly shared it with Trinity. He describes the somewhat windy day and the event as follows:
“Chapel on the Green is a weekly outdoor service sponsored by Trinity Episcopal Church, New Haven, Connecticut. On Maundy Thursday, 2012, grounded by the rhythms of Drums Not Guns, volunteers, church members, and clergy combined the ancient ritual of foot-washing with medical foot care for people who walk the streets. After many feet were washed, massaged, and outfitted with new socks, vouchers were given for a pair of shoes, and an outdoor meal was served.”