One of the projects that I’ve been responsible for this year has been the weekly church service - called ‘Gathering’. Although we have a lot of other projects throughout the week it’s during ‘Gathering’ that we often start to see how God is impacting the lives of our community members. I’m constantly surprised by the pearls of wisdom that come out during our discussion times and by the deep level of compassion that some feel towards those who are doing it tough.
But, to be honest, there are also times that I worry what other visitors might think of ‘Gathering’. It’s not unusual for someone to let fly with a swear word or two as they ask God to help them with a situation that is causing them to get frustrated with life and our singing isn’t always that easy to listen to. Over time a lot of us are learning that God values our honest prayers much more than those that are shiny and hollow. The saddest part is that these superficial barriers that we unknowingly create are stopping people from coming along to church on a Sunday. They know that they’re different just by looking around the room at all the well-groomed Christians who don’t seem to be doing it as tough.
I think that God’s vision is for every faith community to be diverse and inclusive, valuing the gifts that each person brings. It sounds good in theory but in reality it often means that we all have to give up something to make sure that everyone feels welcome. Because, as our CEO David Wilson, continues to tell us each week, ‘everyone needs a place to belong’.
Thanks for your ongoing support and please keep praying for our friends who are living on the street at the moment; that they will be safe and healthy, and that those walking past them each day will treat them like people, not problems.
- Michael Blumel