At different times in the course of this ministry, I’ve wondered where the Spirit is leading. There have been times when I’ve been ready to hang it all up. I’ve argued with God about this over the last couple of years. So when we began 2017, I felt like I was a little without footing. We took the month of January off of worship to do some strategic and financial planning, some paperwork, and to pray about where the Spirit was leading us.
And then February happened. I thought no one would show up for worship. And we are still usually small at our Sunday worship, but people do come and worship together. And then my colleague Joanna brought a few people from Shepherd of the Hills, one of our partner congregations, to learn to cook a Mexican dish with Martha and to worship with us and to eat afterword.
Martha asked me about how many people I thought we would be. I said I thought there would be about 10 of us. Well, it turns out there were about 20 of us! And somehow we had enough food! And we had a great time worshiping and talking to each other over our meal after dinner. And people had conversations with people who they hadn’t met before and they learned a few words in English and Spanish and we sang and prayed and laughed together.
And then we started Spanish and ESL classes. I’ve been thinking about doing this since we began, and finally felt it was time. It was Tuesdays and Thursdays during Lent so I thought maybe no one would show up. But people did! And they enjoyed themselves and they asked to learn more!
I said, “Sure. Let me look for funding and teachers and get prepared and we’ll start again in the fall.” And the people said, “No! We want to start again right away!”
So we did. We have classes just Tuesdays now through March and each class includes a time where Spanish and ESL students come together to learn a song and to do an interactive activity with each other. We’ve learned to cook and we continue to build relationships with people who are different from us. To me, this seems like an extension of our worshiping community because we learn, sing, eat and share in fellowship with each other in English and Spanish. Oak Grove, one of our our partner congregations and host, has provided amazing support for these classes and in so many ways and we are blessed to be in ministry with them!
And we decided to march with palms and sing outside for the first time and we hosted our first Easter worship with fabulous music, Scripture and prayer and the Meal Jesus gave us and a dinner with ham, memelas, gelatina, salad, wonderful conversation and even birthday cake for Martha! And people showed up! Even people we haven’t seen since we moved to our new place, old friends, and even someone who had received an invitation from us when we went to invite people at the HUB showed up!
And then Crossroads…the people who were displaced continue to work for justice, not only for themselves but for others. And they’ve made a difference. They’ve affected housing laws around the country because of their work with a class action lawsuit. They’ve contributed to a documentary that TPT has put together. We saw it last Friday and it will be available for distribution soon! (Let me know if you’d like to arrange a screening and a panel discussion).
And because of their hard work and some new people involved in advocating for and with people in Richfield, AEON, a housing non-profit, was able to purchase a housing complex in Richfield that was going to be sold to maybe the same developer who so callously displaced thousands of people from Crossroads and affordable housing will be maintained in Richfield!
Check out this notice from Richfield City Leaders: Housing News! And consider attending Tuesday’s session!
And we have 13 partner congregations and others who support us in ministry and through prayer. And people keep showing up. And I don’t always understand it. And I still sometimes argue with God about this. But people keep showing up and God keeps providing.