Sunday, April 1, 2007

Niagara/Hamilton Churches Walk the Talk

My church was looking for volunteers for an annual event: serving dinner to the people at the Wesley Centre in Hamilton. The Wesley Centre is a 24hr/7 day a week Drop-in Centre / Shelter for men and women in need of shelter, sanctuary and the opportunity to socialize. I decided to go and bring my 10 year old grandaughter, Kendra Lee. I wasn't sure initially that it was a good idea to bring her and a few people said I may want to wait a couple of years until she is a little older. But I know this much about my grandaughter - she has a big heart, loves to care for others and likes to go to new places with her granny.

We went to the church service first on the second floor of the Centre. My pastor and a pastor from the Centre delivered the service together and we all took part in acting out the story of Palm Sunday (Luke 19:28-40). It was a memorable service because of everyone's involvment and because of the two ministers' sensitivity in delivery.

After the service, we went down to the kitchen, past a great crowd in the entrance that were lined up, ready for their meal. It smelled wonderful and the kitchen was packed with our church members. I was assigned the task of serving the meals along with about four others. Kendra Lee worked in the kitchen and had the job of moving the trays along the food line, in readiness for serving. She did an amazing job as I knew she would.

We served meals to about 200 people. A couple of volunteers served coffee and tea. There was a birthday cake that appeared from somewhere, and we sang Happy Birthday to the three clients who were celebrating their special day.
As people finished their meals, they brought their trays and cutlery up to the collection area and many made a special point of thanking us for the meal.

When I pick up Kendra Lee (she is the eldest of seven grandchildren) her Mom never knows where I am going to take her. There are many events in the various communities and most days, it is a matter of choosing between several places within the riding. When I arrived home with Kendra Lee that evening, she was so excited to tell her Mom about our adventure. She explained that we served a meal to people who were poor and I could tell that she felt very proud of the contribution that she had made.

Poverty affects one in six in this great country of ours. We all need to do our part and governments at every level need to work together to take care of our most vulnerable. It is the right thing to do. My church knows that, as do 51 other churches in the Niagara/Hamilton area that make sure that the poor in Hamilton are offered a hot meal every Sunday.

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