Wednesday, July 27, 2011

With Thanks and Praise and Hope

Closing a Church before it really got started was not in my plans when I came to Florida to help organize a new congregation. The economy had things other than those we had planned in mind for our work, and now it has ended. for the past several weeks, Deanna and I have continued to meet with a very small group of people from the Providence congregation for worship on Sundays. One of the first things we talked about when we gathered in that small group was how we could continue our participation in the Interfaith Dinner Network, an effort to feed the hungry of our community two nights a week. Our church had been involved in this important ministry from it's planning phase through full implementation. We were privileged to serve the very first meal (to a whopping total of seven people) when the ministry finally began in a former school facility. By the time our church was making plans to close, the program was serving upwards of 30 people two nights a week and making plans to expand to a third night later this year. Our second Thursday night time slot had become a regular fixture on the calendars of those of us committed to this opportunity to serve. One of the things of which I am most proud as I look back over the work we did over the past three years is this ministry with people who would likely never have become part of the congregation even if it had developed. I continue to be proud that a small group of people intend to continue to serve those people supper even now that they are finding other places to worship, learn, serve, and grow. Even though the congregation we had planned will not be a part of the landscape of our community, the desire of this small group to help others will. We've served some mighty fine barbecued chicken, spaghetti and meat balls, shepherd's pie, and lots of other things, we're told. I don't know what will be on the menu for August, but I'm grateful something will. Thanks be to God!


Beloved Spear said...

Blessings for this time of transition! I know it can be spiritually challenging stepping into a new calling, but it is reassuring to know that you've fed the hungry. Somewhere, I seem to recall someone saying that was a really important thing to do. ;0)

Christopher Joiner said...


My mother put Kim and me onto a book entitled "Take this Bread." It is set in an Episcopal Church in San Francisco which we visited for daily prayer while we were on vacation. It tells the story of a food ministry that started feeding anyone who arrived, no questions asked, and has grown into one of the most significant ones in the community. The writing is superb.

I am grateful for the witness to the Gospel you helped give in that place over these years.