This blog is an ongoing series about the lessons that I am learning in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. To start from the beginning, read my first post.
Lesson #2: Travel lightly into the neighborhood
|Morning Prayer at Sunflower Cafe, Charleston|
|My husband and daughter at the park shelter for a picnic.|
But we do more than that. We don't just wait for them to come. In not having a place to call our own at the beginning, the neighborhood truly became our church. We did morning prayer in a local breakfast restaurant, "staff" meetings happened at the local coffee shop, and coffee hour was at the local park shelter. We also made it our first priority to do outreach in the community. Each budget we have developed has started with 10% for outreach and then we have figured the rest out. We do a food drive the first Sunday of the month for a local food pantry at a low-income apartment complex, we have adopted a class in a under-performing school, we collect new, clean socks for a women's shelter on Maundy Thursday, etc.... I won't bore you with the whole list but there is a lot of good you can do when you get into the community and find out what they need.
|My son and dog at one of our Blessing of the Pets|
Our most successful endeavor was our Blessing of the Pets. We do it at the same park where we did coffee hour at the beginning. It has a dog park, playgrounds, and soccer fields. Exactly where you will find the average family on a Saturday in the fall. We need to stop sitting in our churches and wondering why people aren't finding us. It isn't that they aren't interested in the message we share. People want to make a difference in the world. We need to show them that our churches are a place that they can be a part of that.
I am not saying that we have found all the answers and haven't run into our own problems along the way but we are traveling lightly and learning as we go.