This is a parable about the church—any church, including Thompson Memorial Presbyterian:
On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little lifesaving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for those who were lost. Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area wanted to become associated with the station and gave of their time, money, and eﬀort to support its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little lifesaving station grew.
Some of the members of the lifesaving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the ﬁrst refuge of those saved from the sea. They replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building.
Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully because they used it as a sort of club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in the club’s decorations, and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where the club’s initiations were held. About this time a large ship wrecked oﬀ the coast, and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwrecks could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting, there was a split among the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon lifesaving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a lifesaving station. But they were ﬁnally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station. So they did.
As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another lifesaving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that seacoast today, you will ﬁnd a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.
This past Sunday, we heard about the people who are drowning all around us. They are drowning in the waters of addiction, particularly drugs and alcohol. Beverly Haberle, the Executive Director of the Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania, shared her considerable insight into the nature of addiction and the promise of hope. Beverly also spoke at length about the promise of hope that can come from God and God’s people in the church. Beverly has been deeply involved for decades in helping individuals and families, most living in Central Bucks County.
Most of the people drown . . .
Would you like to do something? You can. You can be a part of the rescue team; and here’s how.
On Saturday, June 4th, a representative of the Council named Steve Calderbank leads a 90-minute orientation in the Conference Room for anyone who wants to volunteer. Those wishing to give back receive preliminary training on what it means to be a volunteer and what role they can play in helping others achieve and sustain recovery. This is a 90-minute presentation that includes the history of the Council, why we do what we do and many of the ways in which Volunteers serve. This is orientation is required for all those who wish to volunteer. What kind of help is needed? You can answer phones; you can coach someone in writing checks, keeping a budget or food shopping. You can help a recovering person create a resume. You can become a mentor. You can help a drowning person. That’s why we’re here, don’t forget.
Here is link to a video of Beverly’s presentation this past Sunday.