During worship, I shared a bit of the story and mission of “A Place a The Table,” a “pay as you can” restaurant in downtown Raleigh that beautifully illustrates the church’s mission to “make room” for all people. Honestly there was a point in preparing that I wished I could just share the entire website as the sermon. So to that end, here it is! https://tableraleigh.org/
Here also is the direct link to the Kelly Clarkson Show Interview with Maggie Kane, that was referenced as well:
You might also be interested to know that in the last two years “A Place a The Table” has expanded their dining room to better accommodate groups. If you’d like to join a church group to go eat there, let me know!
One other story about the way the church can make room for others that didn’t make the sermon but I have been remembering with gratitude:
In my first call, each Sunday night we had a youth dinner. Middle and High school students would gather at 6:00pm for a joint meal. There were typically about 30-40 young people for these dinners, but we met in a room that could accommodate three times that many at several round tables. When I first began, the youth would typically scatter to a bunch of different tables. And it was rare that any one of the tables used was ever full. It was more like 3 here, 5 there, 2 over at that one, and sometimes a youth or two would even sit by themselves.
The other youth leaders and I did what we could to subtly and sometimes not so subtly encourage a greater sense of community during these meal times, especially trying to make sure anyone sitting by themselves knew they had a place and were valued. This work was at times met just as often with nodded heads and enthusiastic invitations as it was with shrugs of shoulders, rolling of eyes. But we all kept at it.
Fast forward to year 3 and imagine my level of awe and thanks when one night I turned around and saw that the youth had pulled three round tables together and dragged over a bunch more chairs to fit EVERYONE at the same table. That sort of thing didn’t happen every week, mind you, but in that one moment we all caught a glimpse of the way the church, shaped by the grace of God, can help people feel less alone.
May we look for opportunities like that in the days and weeks ahead, trusting that they will appear not due to our cleverness but true to God’s amazing grace always present and ever faithful.
The Lord Bless and Keep You,
*In-Person/Livestream Worship: Join us each Sunday at 11:00am in person or online (via Facebook live) for worship!
See and share the Sunday, February 5 service, that continued our new sermon Series: The Church: Then, Now, Next.
On Sunday, February 12, we continue this series, exploring a bit more about belonging and what distinguishes our Christian Fellowship from other community organizations, clubs, and social activities. Join us to hear how we are “Held Together” by Christ and what difference that can make to us and to the world.
Online participation via Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/firstpresbyterianchurchofgarner
*Masks are welcome but optional during in-person worship as we continue to contend with COVID and an emerging flu season. We also ask everyone to be still mindful of social distancing and respectful of the personal space of others even as we give thanks for being together.*
*Habitat for Humanity of Sothern Wake County begins its Faith Build, this Saturday (February 11th) 8:15am–11:15am. This “build” is done annually and involves the participation of many churches and communities of faith in the Garner area.
More volunteers (minimum age of 16) are needed for what is called the “Wall Build.” Come for as long as you can during the time frame above! To assist you can find more information and register at this link http://vhub.at/southwake. The location for this opportunity is Habitat’s own facility located at 3301 Jones Sausage Rd Garner NC 27529. Please consider helping out with this service opportunity!
* Walking Group: Join the Walking Group each Tuesday at 6pm. We currently meet at Cadence Senior Living Center (200 Minglewood Dr.). Dress warmly! If you have any questions, contact the church office at 919-772-0727. In the event there is inclement weather, we’ll just gather the following week.
*February is Heart Health Month and our Wellness Activities Team is sharing helpful advice (like joining the Tuesday Walking Group!) for maintaining a healthy heart lifestyle each Sunday in worship. Come and see how you can feel God’s wholeness in body, mind, and spirit.
* Boy Scout Troop 392 is having a Krispy Kreme fundraiser. Please contact the church office at (919) 772-0727 for information on how to get your certificate for a dozen glazed donuts. The cost is $15 for each certificate which can be used at any Krispy Kreme location across the United States. (Not valid for in grocery store purchases.)
* The 2023 Flower Chart is up! The flower chart is posted in the hallway and ready for sign-ups. The cost of the flowers for the coming year is $40.00.
* Family Promise Potluck Luncheon: Family Promise is fast approaching! Our time to host will be April 2 – 9, 2023. To kick off our service to this mission we will host a luncheon and short program about Family Promise on February 26th. Representatives from the Wake County office will give a short presentation on homelessness and its current trends and will answer any question we have. The Missions team will provide the main course – BBQ. Bring your best side dishes and desserts! Come learn about this mission we have supported for 7 years!
*CNCB and Wellness Hygiene Item Drive: Community Navigators, Community Builders Youth group is planning a Women’s Health Event on Saturday, March 18. As part of the preparation for the event, the Wellness Activities Ministry team is coordinating with CNCB to have a Women’s Hygiene Item Drive beginning on February 12. Items can be brought to the church office during the week or placed in a bin in the Library on Sunday’s. The collection will run through March 12.
*Souper Bowl Sunday: Souper Bowl Luncheon will be on Sunday, February 12th. See the flyer below for details, but don’t worry, Confederate Bean and She Crab Soup are rumored to be on the list!!!
*Prayers for Peace: Our world continues to need prayers of word and deed for peace. As we prepare for a new year, may we pray for those affected by the extreme cold weather across the US, the almost year-long war in Ukraine, the earthquake that recently hit Syria, for violence in many communities such as Memphis, TN. Please continue to keep residents as well as law enforcement and first responders in your prayers in light of those struggling with gun violence in too many places in our nation (including Raleigh, NC). In our congregation, we have had many also who have suffered unexpected loss–continue to treat others and self with tenderness and grace.