From Our Pastor

Helping Our Neighbors

Posted 25 May, 2017 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

Yesterday afternoon, I received a call from Joanie Petty of the United Way. Joanie had just been in conversation with a young man recently released from jail. The young man was in need of many things, among them clothing and toiletries. So Joanie was calling me to see if the church could help with clothing and toiletries for this gentleman. 

I told Joanie of our Clothes Closet and of the toiletry bags we have for those in need. I arranged to meet someone from the United Way at the Uptown Ministry Center in order to find some clothing for this man (he had provided his sizes.) So we met at the Clothes Closet, found him some pants, some shirts, and some shoes. Joanie then met me and the United Way staff member at the entrance to the Ministry Center as we waited for the young man to come for his clothing. We had good conversation until he showed up. We then enjoyed meeting him and hearing about his plans for the future. I told him I hoped to see him again and welcomed him to the church anytime.

This experience of helping this man is an experience for which I am grateful in many ways. I am grateful to have been called by the United Way, grateful that Joanie knew we were an agency that may be able to partner with the United Way in helping a neighbor in need. I am grateful to know that we will build upon this experience and partner with one another many times in the future, all for the benefit of those in this community and beyond. I am grateful for your gifts and for your volunteer efforts that make it possible for us as a church to say, "Yes" when asked for help.

I pray for this young man, and trust you pray for him, too. As we meet neighbors such as him every day, I pray as we minister to these in need, that they know the presence and care of the God who loves them and provides for them new beginnings.

We worship this Sunday with scripture from I Peter 4 and 5. This scripture speaks to the early church of the matter of suffering. In this week which has known a terrorist attack in Manchester, England, we are reminded the issue of suffering and faith is never far from us.

We also remember Memorial Day as we worship. We do well this weekend to give thanks for those who have sacrificed and given their lives for others. Their sacrifices, their love of God and neighbor, continue to bless us still.