Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Outreach Retreat

          This past weekend we had our second "Outreach Retreat" at Camp Christian.  The purpose of it was to gather an diverse group of people from church together to discuss outreach, to do it and to then reflect upon it.

          Last year, that was exactly what we did.  This year, we did not do the discussion or Bible study but instead  - on Friday night - engaged in  one of my favorite activities in the world!  We played dominoes and ate junk food.  We were a group of folks - there were 8 of us around the table - men and women of all ages who did not know each other very well.  But really bonded in playing this game.  While we were doing this, Wendy and her daughter were working together and making a blanket for the free store. 

Here is their finished work.

Saturday morning we worked at the free store.  What that meant was different for different people.  Marsha brought Halloween crafts for children, many people organized the materials in the store, others greeted the shoppers and Tom and Bonnie cooked hot dogs for everyone.  The free store is part of what is called "The Delaware Project" which is a new church in our denomination that is beginning - not with worship - but with service.  And the central service project is this store which provides free clothing and household goods to anyone who is in need.  It is like the grace of God - free.  And our participation last Saturday was a true blessing to all of us.

Chuck brought his fishing rods and he and I went to the lake with Raven, a little girl whose grandma was shopping. She told me that she had fished before with her Mom but her Mom and Dad did not get along, so they did not live together.  And right now she was living with Grandma.  And so on a beautiful October morning we were just blessed to help and watch Raven fish. (and catch some fish ourselves.!) 

Afterwards we gathered back in the lodge and talked about our experience of helping others.  It is a rare place where everyone comes together on the same playing field - so to speak.  The "shoppers" were not clients or customers - they really are our brothers and sisters in Christ.  There is such freedom in getting rid of the labels and just trying to be together. . And  I realize more and more how many kids need to be around caring older adults - grandma and grandpa figures who will just be patient and kind with them.

And so, again, I cherish the gift of serving a church of the size of Karl Road Christian Church.  We keep learning that coming together with each other  - in all of our differences - to play and work is just life giving for everyone.

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