A bit from a piece I’m writing on Greg Dyson, the leading pastor for the “homeless connect” program in Springfield, MA.
The violent shouts of angered drug addicts and their suppliers reverberate through the courtyard parking lot of a small corrupted motel in downtown Springfield, MA. A small team of local residents, college students and volunteers stand in a circle in the middle of the parking lot under the leadership of Pastor Greg Dyson. “You all should be a little scared right now,” he says as the group’s saxophone player attempts to sooth the palpable tension with long, deep notes. “Lord knows I am.”
It was a long night that lead to this climaxing point just before midnight, and it wasn’t the first time Dyson had been in such a precarious situation. It is not because these sketchy environments are attracted to Dyson, but because Dyson seems to be attracted to them. “These people are not little projects for us to work on, they are not economic inadequates,” he said one night to a group of eager volunteers. “They are people, people who don’t have homes. People who need help.” Dyson is referring to the homeless situation in Springfield, one so bad that three years ago on any given night, there would be more people walking around downtown at night without homes than the town knew what to do with.
“I don’t find myself to be a very compassionate person,” Dyson said as his motives were put into question. His actions prove otherwise.