It is with great sadness that the church shares the passing of one of our own, Dennis Christiansen. Dennis was born July 23, 1962 and died Monday, May 13th, 2019 . Dennis lived the last years of his life.out in the open as a member of the homeless community in Dover, De. From time to time, a few nameless strangers may have brought him a cup of coffee or a sandwich as they exited the nearby store, some of them even offering a smile along with their gift. Many others turned their heads, judging Dennis, as well as other homeless persons as being "bums" who chose their lifestyle by the choices they had made. That was not Dennis’ choice.
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Dennis had come to town years ago working and traveling with a carnival. The circumstances of his childhood and loved ones are unknown to us, although he had mentioned once living somewhere in Michigan, while working as a "carney", Dennis suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized here in Dover. When he was discharged, the carnival had long gone, leaving Dennis without resources or a place to live. Dennis then became one of the "street people", living each day not knowing where the next meal would come from, "making do" with what little he had, and trying his best to survive not only the weather elements, but the other elements which all homeless people face every day....hunger, assault, loneliness, despair, and often hopelessness.
Our church family met Dennis at a tent outreach, and he became part of our family. He fit right in. We loved Dennis, and Dennis loved us. Above all, Dennis knew that Jesus loved him too, gladly and bravely volunteering to share his testimony before a crowd of people one fall Sunday afternoon . Dennis loved helping out at the Delaware Tent of Meeting. He especially loved cooking and did so with finesse and perfection . He ran that "kitchen" like a pro. He was even overheard one day saying with a big grin on his face, "You know, I love hot dogs, but after cooking all that I cooked today, I don't care if I ever see another one." He made us laugh. Dennis also loved to eat salads.
The day before he died, he was looking forward to the next tent outreach and not only cooking, but also serving others, many of them homeless, like himself. He wasn't able to be at church that Mother's Day Sunday, although he was looking forward to it. We sent him a platter of food from our fellowship dinner. His friend "Cowboy" told us it brought a huge smile to Dennis's face , as he was very hungry and so thankful that he was remembered even in his absence.
Dennis has no known family members that can claim his remains and lay him to rest .. His body was destined to be disposed of by the state , like so many of the unclaimed bodies of the forgotten indigent, with no remembrances of the lives they had lived or the people who had loved them. We cannot do this with one of our own. Dennis was a human being. He may have been homeless and separated from his natural family, but to us, and to Jesus, he was precious and valuable and part of our family.
IHOP-FS has decided to pay the cost of cremation and transportation of Dennis to Ambruso funeral home. The memorial service to follow on Sat may 25th, at 4 O’clock pm at Legislative Mall 411 Legislative Ave, Dover, Delaware. Some of you reading this may be moved and led by God to help our church offset some of this expense so that we , as well as Dennis's friends who are also currently homeless, can honor his memory in a meaningful way.
Click the Link below to donate to this memorial. Just put a note in you’re giving that it is for the memorial.