WINTER SHELTER & STREET VISITATION MINISTRY
The CLC Disciple cooks for Thursday 12/1 hot dinner meal were: Dinner - Nancy Warner (two cooking meals), Susan Pittinger. Lunch - Mary Ellen Engler; and Milk - Melinda Forster.
Last night Susan P, Pr Mark and I, delivered CLC's prepared food to the HOM Shelter, ate dinner with the residents while talking with the guys about things going on, and then prepared for transport all of the remainder of food CLC prepared for the Street Ministry Visitation Team to take God's gifts to the street ministry locations. Last night it was cold (low 40's) when the day was in the 60's, quite a change. We were all buzzing about how we will dress next week since we were not dressed as warmly as we would for a normal winter evening being outside.
The residents at the HOM shelter welcomed us warmly. Cherith had the table set with chairs for each setting, we were 7 in total. Everyone sat down at a place setting, Deacon Dave offered a prayer before we ate, then we sat to eat the Dr Pepper Pulled Pork sandwiches with applesauce. Everyone raved about the food, excellent recipe choice. Eric was not with us this evening, he was invited by the Youth group that gathers in HOM facility weekly to be with them while he was asked to portray Jesus in a parade in Berlin, MD that the group was participating in.
After dinner, we sat for a few minutes and had discussions with the residents and Cherith, then we cleaned up and prepared Deacon Dave's van to depart for the Street Ministry locations. We loaded the hot food, folding tables, plates, plastic ware, napkins, serving spoons, pies, brownies, WAWA food, and battery operated lights in order to see what we are serving. All loaded, we left the HOM Shelter for the first Street Ministry location.
Upon arrival at the first Street Ministry location in Millsboro, Cherith and Pr Mark made the rounds to each of the residents doors announcing our arrival while we set up the folding tables and food. Since it was cold no one was out in the parking as was normally the case during the warm weather. The residents came out one by one, talked with us for a bit and received their Dr Pepper Pulled Pork sandwich, applesauce, pumpkin pie, WAWA sandwich choices and returned inside to the warm to eat their meal. Since there was really limited lingering around and talking, the visit was shortened. When we saw that all residents and children were fed we packed up the folding tables and food back into the van. At this location there were only a few children who came out, came to the table, meekly identified what they wanted on their plate and waited very patiently for their hot sandwiches. Once everyone received their food, we wrapped up, and loaded the van for the next stop.
Upon arrival at the second Street Ministry location in Laurel, the process was repeated. This time there were more children in the families living at this location who came to our tables for food. The residents and children very politely asked for their desired sandwich, applesauce and pie. The children are amazing, we see many of the same children each time we visit. A few adults stood around near our tables and talked for a while, when all adults departed and the children were inside it was time to wrap up and load the van with the remaining food (very little remained), tables and other supplies.
Since there currently are not any tent cities we were made aware of, this was the last stop for the night.
While driving back to the HOM Facility we discussed how the night went and what some of the high points of the Street Visitation Ministry were. Many of the comments centered around the cold night restricting the ability for much discussion with the residents, the number of children in the families residing at these facilities is always difficult and then there are the families living in one room with multiple beds for parents and children. Try to imagine if you might have to live in one room by yourself, not very easy to do; now add a spouse and children with the addition of the variety of clothing and small refrigerator and hot plate or microwave to heat food and all of a sudden there is no floor space to get around. These tight living accommodations tends to provide tension just getting thru each day.
Our support for the HOM Shelter and the HOM Visitation Ministry Teams does not seam like much, but believe me, these residents really appreciate receiving our food, compassion and tender love that is exchanged with every sandwich, God's work, our hands. I have never asked when their last hot meal was placed before them, I guess I did not want to embarrass anyone with such a question. I am pretty sure hot meals are not as frequent as we have them at home.
Remember what Jesus said "What you do for the least of mine you do for me!"
We could not support this ministry w/o the CLC Disciple volunteers.
Thank you to the cooks: Nancy W, Susan P, Mary Ellen E, and Melinda F.
Thank you to the CLC Disciples on this Visitation Ministry Team: Deacon Dave, Susan P, Pr Mark.
If your heart is moved by this ministry and would like to join 'doing God's work with our hands' please sign up on the master schedule on the bulletin board in Luther Hall, there are many volunteer slots remaining to be filled.
Dave Pittinger, Deacon of OSSD
Serving at Community Lutheran Church
(302) 732-1156 church office
(302) 537-0669 home
(302) 841-0561 cell
As I continue some thoughts on the sustainability of CLC, I will delve into another aspect of the arriving retirees to our area of Sussex County which is their age. Historically folks retired at 65 plus or minus 5 years. However, it appears that with our economy this number may be increasing which further exacerbates the time crunch.
What we have is a time of availability of folks bounded by their retirement and permanent moving to the area and then their departure either by moving to be closer to family, moving to a retirement complex, a nursing home or, of course, death. During this span of time lots of things happen which effect a person’s interest in the church and their ability to participate in the life of the congregation. Initially, most folks are anxious to shed all involvements and tend to share the idea of “I’ve already done that, I’m ready for a rest.” Folks need to grow through this period of new found freedom until they are ready to commit themselves to the work of the church. Keep in mind that these folks are the church; it’s not them serving another entity – they are the entity. It is through their participation that both they and the church are supported. Their own spirituality will evolve and grow from their involvement.
So the current leadership of the church needs to develop plans to have the church provide resources, programs, training etc. to accelerate the time folks take to move from being visitor to active member, i.e., members which participate and also provide service and help to those in need. For the sake of discussion, consider the following steps:
visitor to attending member to participating member to server/helper to leader to one with institutional wisdom to departure.
If, on average, the cycle is 15 years long, then, on average, each phase would be 2 ½ years long. Since some folks will never move beyond just attending worship services, it is imperative that those who will become leaders grow into that role as soon as possible. I suggest that we already have some ideas for welcoming folks and even for following through to their becoming members. However, once members, it is not well defined how to nurture personal growth. Perhaps a portion of the plans and goals for all the ministries and teams of Community LC should relate to how to nurture participation and growth of all members. In other words, how to help folks become true Disciples of Christ.
Please share your thoughts.