Wednesday, December 16, 2015
On Monday there was a message on the Bridge St UC phone which was really a rant about our sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family. The person didn't leave a name, although call display is a helpful coward-detector. He blustered about how outrageous it was that we were helping these people when there are so many needs close at hand. He promised that he wouldn't come to the church for events anymore, which was the one upside of the call.
What is so laughable about this diatribe is that Bridge St. provides more than 7,000 meals a year to local people, many of them living within walking distance of the church. These folk tell us that Inn From the Cold and Thank God It's Friday are Godsends. The other two sponsoring congregations, St. Matthew's and Eastminster, also have food ministries.
In the past couple of weeks I have provided hundreds of dollars in support to two single parents struggling to pay the rent, along with smaller amounts of assistance to others. Our White Gift offering supported a local Christmas sharing program. This is all possible through the generosity of our members and a host of people in the community who like what we're doing.
I would have loved to ask this individual what he does for his neighbours. So often the "charity begins at home" huffers and puffers are just that, a lot of wind and not much action. I deeply appreciate that this congregation doesn't approach kindness and hospitality as an either/or. The neighbours Christ calls us to serve may live a block away, or in a camp in Syria. And now one of those Syrian families lives close at hand.