My church is pretty much amazing. The people there come from every possible background, and it's so interesting to see how, as children of God, we are all one in the same, despite our differences. The general atomosphere of it all is undescribable. I cannot imagine how anyone could ever possibly feel uncomfortable there.
Today we had a meal after small group time. I made Potato Salad, South Louisiana Style... It went over pretty well, from what I could tell, unless everyone was lying to make me feel better. Either way, I enjoyed it, and since I don't cook very often, when something I make goes over well, I am very proud. (Like that macaroni casserole for thanksgiving.....)
Back to the point.
Fellowship meals at my church are so great. There are no cliques. No particular person is expected to sit by any other particular people. This is how it should always be at a church. Sure, after the meal is done we sortof migrated over toward our friends, but eating a meal together is one of the best ways to get to know other people, so there is no reason not to sit by at least one person you don't know very well.
We do the same thing on Wednesday nights, only the Wednesday meal is more of a community outreach, and it's not potluck.
People from the neighborhood and the church come in and get a free hot meal, which is served to them at the table by volunteers from within the church. This is such a special time to me, as it is to the other summer missionaries. We really get to know the people we are reaching out to and thier stories. Many of the people who come don't have much of anything or anyone, and it's such a great time for them to get to come and tell us their stories. I love to hear what they have to say. We've got former artists, pilots, you name it. There is so much to learn from these people and I'm so glad I get the opportunity to do it. After the meal, there is a Bible study, which has become one of my favorite times of the week. Some people don't stay, but there are many that do.
Saturdays is F.L.I.P. (Free Lunch in the Park). The church is but a half a block away from Tompkins Square Park, which is a charming little place. Many people live in the park, or in squats and tenaments around it. On Saturdays, volunteers from Graffiti, and mission teams, prepare a bag lunch, for these people. They line up in massive numbers. Then Vaughn, one of the most faithful and amazing servant-hearted people I've ever met, leads a Bible study for those that want to stay. If ever you are in New York on a Saturday, you should contact the church about helping with FLIP because it is a true blessing.
This weekend was Graffiti's first Paint the Town project. Throughout the week a mission team helped paint the school at the corner of our block: St. Brigids. Then on Saturday, we invited people from the church and the community to help us finish painting and to do some general cleaning, gum scraping, tape removing, etc.... We didn't have as many show up as expected, but it all got done.
One of the guys who came to help was someone I'd called a few weeks ago when looking for volunteers. He told me he had work the night before, but he'd be there. I told him it was okay if he couldn't make it, or if he wanted to sleep in and come by later on, but he insisted it would be no problem. Sure enough, he got off work at 7, and was at church at 9, having only one hour of sleep, and ready and willing to do whatever was needed of him.
This is the type of person we should all look up to.
I'm so thankful that God has blessed me with a church in the city with such amazing people who have a heart to serve the community. There are a million more things I could talk about, but you'd get sick of reading them. Check out the website if you get a chance though!