1. Our church is located downtown and so we have a large outreach ministry to our neighborhood and other marginalized people in our community. Our vision and mission is shaped by this and increasingly our other ministries are being evaluated through this filter. One way in which our outreach is becoming more of our DNA and less of a "ministry" is what we call Green Tags. Instead of people coming into the office on Monday afternoons for assistance with gas vouchers, utilities, rent money, assistance with obtaining drivers license/birth certificates etc, that is now handled on Sunday mornings. Volunteers wearing green tags are available to assist those coming in with requests. The load is spread from just the outreach minister to a load of green tag volunteers. People are prayed with, listened to, helped, invited to a breakfast time. And that is where the first image comes from. As I turned a corner in the Southwest corner of the building this morning I saw two children between the ages of 5-8 sitting at a table enjoying a hearty breakfast. Their Dad was being helped, their baby sister was being loved on by a volunteer and they had been fed by a few other helpers. Beautiful.
2. I am wrapping up a Christmas Tree Tag project where our church provides gifts for children in foster care. The tree is bare because all the tags are taken. Yet, a widowed man came up to the table today to check how he could still help. The holidays are hard for him, shopping is not his favorite thing, but ensuring that these kids have a good holiday trumped it all. Beautiful.
3. Our focus in worship today was on the abundance of God as our Shield, our Comfort, our Hope and our Provider. We celebrated abundance throughout the whole morning and our worship culminated with a Lord's supper celebration like no other. We had tables set up all around the auditorium with delicious loaves of bread from Great Harvest Bread company and cups of grape juice. People were given chunks of bread and full cups of juice to really experience taking in the body and blood of Christ. It was the final element of worship and so it led directly into fellowship time so people stood around the tables taking their communion in community before leaving. Beautiful.