Church In The Neighborhood

Last month, I participated in the “Serve. Everybody.” weekend. That’s when one of our partner churches mobilizes its entire congregation to serve the community through a variety of projects. The church building is closed Sunday morning as volunteers take the church into the neighborhoods. The idea is also to help promote serving year-round. I joined in one project to spread mulch in the playground at our God’s Little Lambs Daycare at Hope Central.

Working beside me were church volunteers such as Rick, an AT&T manager, and Jerry, a corporate attorney. I was on the shoveling team with them. Others hauled and dumped the full wheelbarrows. And still others spread the mulch. Each time the wheelbarrow crew left with a load, those of us on the shoveling team would take a sip of water and chat and get to know each other. It was a huge pile and spreading it took most of the morning.

Also working beside us were several men and women who were homeless. They were part of the community that gathers at Hope Central (the building where we were working) on Monday and Thursday nights to share a meal. Some of these folks were rough around the edges, and you could tell they were not your usual church volunteers. Carl was one of them. He refrained from drinking that morning (although from the smell on his breath he probably only stopped late the night before) and was putting his all into the project. He said he was doing it since it was a good cause. Carl worked harder and longer than most of the other volunteers.

Then there was Jay. By his appearance, as far as I knew he was one of the church volunteers. He said he was from New Your City originally. We talked about Pery, who was heading up our project, and who also helps head up the meal sharing there on Monday and Thursday nights. Jay said that Pery reminded him of how Christ would love…that what Pery does is just a part of his life. And Jay talked about how important it is when people can get second chances.

As we talked, and Jay opened up more about his situation, I figured that he might be homeless and part of the group that shared meals there in the evenings. Just to make sure, I asked Jay if he goes to the church where the volunteers were from. He said “No,” and then referring to the evening gatherings at Hope Central, he said, “This is my church.”

Posted by: Steve

April 30, 2012

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