Stories from Out There

            Did you hear the news? Something really big and surprising happened this week! What happened days ago brought with it significant change and altered lives. If you think I’m talking about what happened on Tuesday; I’m not. I’m talking about what happened on Sunday when we left our building to be the church.

            I asked for some front line reports from you and here’s what I got:

            Amy Brewer reporting from the Good News Home (painting): When we got to the Good News Home for Women, Maria, the Director of the Residents, told us all she wanted was a wall painted, not just a simple wall, but she wanted it to look like the sky with clouds.  This was the vision that Ernestine wanted.  As you know, Ernestine is the coordinator of Good New Home, she has been battling cancer and we just found out the treatments have been successful.  Ernestine is an amazing woman and hearing this news made us feel great. We were also happy to make her vision for her wall come about.  None of us were artists, but we all worked together and made a beautiful wall. We hope it made her happy.

            Bob Auwarter reporting from Buckingham Springs (clean up): Beth and I worked at the home of Jerry Wells, who lives in Buckingham Springs.  In 2013 she and her disabled father had just moved into their home, and we did some major clean up. Her father passed away this year.  This was the fourth year we’ve been at her house, generally pulling weeds and spreading landscaping stones.  She has limited mobility, telling us she walks her dog while riding her scooter.  We learned that she is a 9/11 survivor, working within blocks of the World Trade Towers. I believe she is still awaiting settlement from the survivor’s fund.  She is always upbeat and very appreciative.  Our highlight of the day was seeing a work crew of about 10 people from Forest Grove Presbyterian Church, on their own CHLTB, arrive to finish the job. Tom Freund, his daughter and grandson, cleaned windows and did yard work at the home of a former Cleveland Browns football player, Wayne Sadowski.  Who would have thought that Tom is a fan of the Cleveland Browns?  He enjoyed seeing memorabilia from Wayne’s career.

            Bill Clark reporting from Kirkwood Camp and Conference Center (clean up): We worked hard and had a lot of fun.  I think the thing that was most notable is this: The group kids that accompanied Mike Lieber and I to Kirkwood are some of the hardest working and respectful group of young adults I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with. Their parents and our congregation should be commended for how strong their faith is and how willing they are to put it on display.  They made all nine hours of the trip to Kirkwood enjoyable. [Stuart’s Note: He’s talking about my son, Miles! Miles was among those great kids Bill mentioned. Sorry, Dad moment.]

            Jennifer Haubrich reporting from Fisherman’s Mark (clean up): When the guys at Lowe's didn't think that we'd be able to finish in 4 hours and we were done in 2 1/2!

            Katherine Marriott reporting from New Hope Manor (serving lunch): Talking with the residents and getting to know about them. One woman shared "This was the best time I've had in ten years.” We enjoyed the lively conservations and witnessing their joy.


            Jean Wilkinson reporting from the Welcome Church (sharing coffee, doughnuts and food with homeless people who gather for worship on the Ben Franklin Parkway) We had several WOW moments:   1) The reverence during communion. Even in the chaos of the city as firetrucks blared their sirens rushing past Logan Square, participants took the moment to heart, receiving communion and the peace it offered. 2) The number of participants which steadily grew before our eyes from 15 to 70.  3) We were struck by how much a pair of socks can mean to someone. How serving someone a cup of coffee just how they like it becomes an act of receiving them for exactly who they are. How an ordinary act can suddenly become holy and dignifying for the giver and receiver.