We had such an interesting worship and fellowship time yesterday at Tapestry. First, we were blessed to have my friend Jesus Purisaca lead our music and my friend Teresa Ortiz share a message with us about loss and the circle of life and hope and even joy that are possible even when we experience deep sorrow. (I hope to share her message here soon).
We are a small group because we are so new. We have no advertising budget, so anyone who comes has either heard about us by word of mouth, on our Facebook (Facebook page) or on our website–still under development–(Tapestry Web Page) or maybe by the sign outside the church.
I am told most church plants meet once a month for the first few months as they are getting organized. For a number of reasons, we began to worship weekly last September. This was not how I wanted to begin, but we did, and we have been worshiping almost weekly ever since. We had discussed worshiping once a month during the summer months because we knew there would not be many people, but we decided to continue weekly worship and fellowship for the following reasons:
- We think it’s important to be here if someone comes.
- We are trying to reach out to our community, many of whom live in poverty and who often do not have an e-mail.
- Loaves & Fishes (L & F) serves a community meal. We want to meet our community.
- We want to be in fellowship with each other on a regular basis.
- We decided not to worry about numbers. Many churches worry about numbers whether they have 50, 250, 2500 people who worship together each week. As Jesus says in Matthew, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.” <>
Yesterday three gentlemen arrived early for the meal, by about an hour. All three were deaf, but Amanda, our blues-harmonica-playing-Venezuelan-bilingual-9-year-old had already been in conversation with them. She had found a piece of paper for them to write on and she was making sure their needs were attended to. She introduced me to Paul and I answered a few questions he had.
Then Amanda and I found a dry erase board so we could communicate with the gentlemen. And Amanda continued to welcome these gentlemen. We made sure they found the pop machine, that they had coffee, that they knew what time the meal was served and what was being served. We made sure they knew there will be no meal next week because of the holiday.
We learned each others’ names. The gentlemen asked if I was the pastor. And Amanda and I learned a few words in sign language. The gentlemen stayed and worshiped with us for awhile until it was time for the meal to be served. And poor Paul, I asked him how to say, “Come All You People” in sign language and he taught us and we did our best to sing this in sign language. We also shared the peace in Spanish, English and Sign Language!
Amanda gave the gentlemen percussion instruments that many of us play as we’re singing, and they played with us.
This is a new friendship in the making, all started because Amanda was so very open to creating a relationship and attending to others’ needs. She knows intuitively how to make people feel welcome. All we adults have to do is watch and learn and she invites us into relationship, too.
Paul and his friends left, but as they were leaving, they waved good-bye and signed “Thank you.” I signed back, “You’re welcome,” and together we made the sign for “Praise” that we had learned.
We had lots of other visitors yesterday, too, most of whom I was not expecting. We were people who can hear and people who can’t hear. We were people who walk and run and people who are in wheelchairs. We were people who spoke English, Spanish and Sign Language. We were people from Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, the United States and Venezuela. We were people with visible and invisible disabilities. We were young and old. We were people who make just enough to live on and people who are quite comfortable.
And a child led.