Saturday, March 14
Presbytery of Santa Fe
A large city park sits across the street from our church, St. Andrew Presbyterian, in Albuquerque. As the park’s homeless population grew, we started distributing sack lunches on weekdays. Then, one cold Sunday morning four years ago, one of our homeless friends showed up for worship. He was somewhat intoxicated but sat through worship attentively. We greeted him, learned his name, and began hearing his story when he returned the next Sunday. Finding a warm welcome, he started inviting his friends to come (something our pastor begs us all to do). Soon we had a back row of homeless friends at morning worship and missed them when they were absent.
We began preparing hot lunches for our park friends after worship. Some members were discomforted, even frightened, by them, and a few left the church, but others joined in part because of this ministry. Volunteers take turns preparing lunch each week, and we are developing relationships with many of these new friends. “I come as much for the conversation as for the food,” one man said recently.
It’s hard to miss that these are the folks Jesus would be hanging out with. And the blessings are mutual. Rather than remaining a socioeconomic silo, our congregation has become a place where it’s easy to rub elbows with the poor. How easy can God make it? We didn’t go out seeking this ministry—God brought it in through our front door. In this diversity, we find we are not so very different, and there but for fortune could be any of us. The ministry has stretched us to visit our park friends in hospital and prison, and to provide clothing, blankets, bus passes, and other necessities. We pester the city to build public toilets in the park. This is what the good news is all about.
The Presbytery of Santa Fe is home to one new church development and 42 congregations, including St. Andrew Presbyterian Church.
—Dr. William R. Miller, deacon and elder, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Albuquerque
Let us join in prayer for
Rev. Dr. Sallie Watson, missional presbyter / stated clerk
Elder Sharon Yates, associate stated clerk /office manager
Griselda Sandoval, financial assistant
Rev. Guillermo Yela, pastor, Camino de Vida new church development
Elder Lindsay Stansifer, youth events coordinator
Elder Lindsey Gilbert, president, Menaul School
Elder Debra Hepler, executive director, Ghost Ranch
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Lord Jesus, you befriended the most despised and rejected. Nudge us past our fear, so that we may love all of your children. Remind us that when we offer simple, loving acts of kindness to our neighbors, it is an offering to you. Amen.