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Like its name implies, the Alter program was established for predominantly Black churches to help them better minister to their members and friends living with dementia — and for their caregivers, family members and friends as well.
Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One …
The children practiced their song repeatedly in the fellowship hall. The adults, gathered in the kitchen assembling Thanksgiving food baskets, didn’t mind listening to them. It had been a while since the struggling church heard children’s voices within its walls. The sound not only brought smiles to wrinkled faces, but a few tears as well to cataract eyes.
The senior pastor’s phone rang at 9:15 p.m. It was Dr. Paul Greenman, a member of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale and the Broward County Medical Association. Greenman made a plea for help during the COVID-19 pandemic — not for himself, but for thousands of other medical professionals and first responders in Broward County, Florida.
Like many pastors, the Rev. Mary Seeger Weese of Midway Presbyterian Church in Midway, Kentucky, had a vision of starting a youth ministry. And, like many pastors, she realized she couldn’t do it alone.
Nostalgia Creates New Connections
More than a decade had passed, but church members throughout the presbytery remembered the Pentecost Event. “Remember all those people? We filled the gym at Rhodes College!” “Remember that choir? Magnificent!” “I got to catch up with so many old friends!” “It was the best thing our presbytery has ever done!”
Fostering community in an urban setting
Seven years ago, I started using the local Starbucks as a workspace to foster community through the café and arts culture in northeastern Los Angeles. This ministry, called the Coop, recently received a seed grant for 1001 New Worshiping Communities. I’m grateful for that and for what God has done to connect people to each other and to God. Over time, purposely making myself interruptible, I’ve built friendships with regulars of every age, wage and life stage. One of these people was “Selma.” Selma and her two young children had just moved into a studio apartment around the corner to escape domestic violence. Originally from Mexico and raised in the Catholic Church, Selma was now in a new neighborhood without support from family, friends or a local church. While believing in God, she was not interested in participating in any kind of religious institution. But she trusted me. And the coffee chats and neighborhood walks helped her connect to God, to a local friend and to a larger network of support.