WillBridge Annual Inter-faith Homeless Foot Washing

By Lynnelle Williams on Sep 18, 2015 at 04:44 PM in Events

Our Homeless guests walk many miles over the course of a year and this day is especially for them. They receive undivided attention from the Santa Barbara community. The goal of this event is two-fold: (1) drawing individuals who are otherwise isolated into relationship showing them they are seen, heard, loved and cared for; (2) connecting or reconnecting individuals to Social Service agencies through the Community Resource Center to meet their specific needs. Homeless people come from all walks of life! A few moments of intentional kindness can impact and change a person's life. Intentioanl kindness pierces the heart! At the very least it can be a catalyst to ignite hope where there was once hopelessness. A homeless guestguest said: "Not that life's too short, but you are dead for so long, but I'm not dead anymore."

From the Heart of a Volunteer

I woke on Thursday morning with a smile on my face. I was excited to attend the Santa Barbara Homeless Foot Washing hosted by WillBridge. I know how blessed I am, and now having an opportunity to bless those less fortunate stirred my heart. Pastor Jon gave instructions on how to wash feet and then he added something odd, "I know each of you came to bless this group of people, but you are actually going to walk away more blessed than the people you serve." Perplexed by his statement, I thought, how could that be? I was left with a puzzling thought, until I met Stephen. He was tall and slender with piercing sky blue eyes, a pony tail and a smile that came easy to his face. His skin had been touched by the sun, and he immediately extended his hand to me and softly shook mine. His eyes went down as he apologized about the condition of his socks.

We then began our journey together. Stephen in a very soft whispering tone said, "Madam, is today Easter?" "No Stephen today is not Easter." Well then, is it Good Friday?" "No" I relplied, "today is Thursday and tomorrow is Good Friday." "Well" Stephen said, "if it's not Easter and tomorrow is Good Friday, why are you doing this?" I said, "Jesus gave us this example so we follow it and wash your feet because we want you to know, you are loved and seen." We sat there looking into each other's eyes soaking up eachother's lives. Then his eyes filled with tears and they rolled down his sun kissed skin. He whispered thank you, from time to time and I said, "No Thank You!" We had few words after that. Stephen left with new shoes and clean feet! How foolish I was to think I had everything! I realized I missed the most important part, being in relationship with "the many Stephens of Santa Barbara." Pastor Jon was right! I left with more than I gave. I will be forever changed by Sky-Blue-Eyes.


The Act of Foot Washing is performed in many denominations: Roman Catholic; Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic; Oriental orthodox; Protestant; Non-Trinitarian Groups; Islam. The Significance of the Foot Washing is to demonstrate Hospitality; Humility; Servanthood; Compassion; and Unconditional Love.