Come and see and be - November 2012
They came from Washington State, Texas, Massachusetts, Tennessee, New York and places in between. All 30 of them were drawn to the Columbus Ohio's Proctor Center to share their experiences and ideas about serving our homeless sisters and brothers through the church without walls. They talked of spiritual practices, art programs, massage, food services and mentored one another. They talked about the nuts and bolts of ministry. They worshipped and prayed together and just plain relaxed.
It was the annual Come and See weekend, a time when experienced street church folks - Ecclesia Ministries affiliates - and those who are thinking about beginning a program come together to share the journey. This year a half dozen new affiliates joined the circle and were welcomed at a "Crossing Ceremony" in which Rev. Dr. Deborah Little Wyman, founder of Ecclesia Ministries in Boston and Missioner to other cities (photo above left), handed a cross to Paula Jackson of Cincinnati, OH. Paula sent it around the circle where Episcopal Deacon Meribah Mansfield of Columbus was "crossed" by Mary
Ann Finch of San Francisco.
As the group always does, we found ourselves on the street for a Sunday service with Street Church hosted by St. John's Episcopal Church of Columbus, OH. On an
unused parking lot at a busy intersection, the Rev. Dr. Lee Anne Reat gathered us around a folding altar to share life's journey, to pray, and to celebrate the Eucharist around a table where all are welcome. It was a chilly day, a day on which new friends were made over a cup of hot soup, sandwiches and fresh fruit.
There's a joy in knowing that others like Lee Anne and her church family and others from across the country are out on the street at about the same time that we are, that we are on the streets together sharing God's abundant and transcendent love with those who join us and with those who pass by.
We hope you'll join us some Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on the sidewalk at 77 Grand Street, Newburgh.