Let me start my thanking you for gifts and cards to our family over the Christmas season. As much as they were not expected they were very much appreciated. Once again, if you received no card from us, it is because no one did. Sorry, this is not our strong suit.
Thank you also for all you all did during the past year to keep our church going. People don’t realize how many volunteers and donations are needed throughout the year to keep us functioning. In an earlier Coach’ Corner I talked about the burdens of our volunteer labor pool. Most small churches have these challenges. While you always come through, these many tasks limit what we can do in our outreach to the community. This takes us back to our exploration group meetings of a few years back. Remember how one of the main visions that came out of the last meeting was to be partners in helping the less fortunate in our neighborhood and the city at large? We have not forgotten about that. This vision was one of the reasons to start a residency program: so residents could help us develop a network of service that the members of the Parkview family could be engaged in.
There are so many connections that make a city work. There are electricity lines and sewer lines and water lines and gas lines and telephone landlines and fiber optic cable. Some lines of connection are familiar and lasting. Others need to be updated. This is true of the church and its people. This is what Chakrita with the help of her husband Ben started doing during her last two months at Parkview: establishing new lines of connection. She visited a number of churches in our area. She met with Family Promise, a group bringing together churches from different denominations who take turns housing a group of pre-screened homeless families for a week several times a year. She went to Downtown Baptist Church and St. Andrew’s A.M.E., both on the east side of South Side Park. The first is a congregation with a strict doctrine that picks up homeless to attend their church. The second serves a meal for homeless at Thanksgiving. St. John’s Lutheran has a much larger outreach for those with homes and Bethany Presbyterian has a food closet for hungry families. There are still many churches and non-profits to visit who do their outreach in other ways. Most of them could use our help. Not every activity Parkview engages in has to involve everybody and be carried by the congregation.
Friends, it turns out we are not just interdependent in running our church, but we can also function interdependently with compassionate organizations beyond our walls. A web of caring can exist inside but also expand outside. May we be faithful and creative in our wider vision. May God bless our ministry. Aart