Grace around the table…by Cleavy McKnight

November 5, 2010

By Cleavy McKnight, South Main Member

On the evening of December 23rd, 2009, South Main hosted a dinner in the church gym for some of our less-fortunate midtown neighbors. Church members prepared delicious barbecue, and many South Main members spent the afternoon and evening preparing plates of meats, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and dessert. The line of guests snaked its way out the door of the Activity Center and down the sidewalk to the street. We served over 100 visitors.

While the warm meal was doubtless appreciated, there was another aspect of the event that, I believe, was even more significant to our guests. Members of the South Main family sat at the tables with our guests during dinner. We listened to their stories and shared some of our own. We talked and laughed and shed a few tears. For that evening, we made our guests a part of our family.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the evening was the broad range of South Main members who participated, from children in elementary school all the way up to senior adults. Our visitors learned that South Main is a place of people who care. Our members were reminded of the grace we have received, and the joy of sharing that grace in the simplest of ways. We recalled Christ’s words that “whenever you have done these things for one of the least of these, you have done these things for me.”

As the meal ended, we gave our guests small backpacks, packed leftovers for them to take away and share, and gave them warm sleeping bags to combat the night chill. With gratitude, they shook our hands. With hugs, and a few more tears, we accompanied them back out onto the streets.

I thought about the many blessings I have received – blessings unearned, blessings given me through grace. I thought about what my children might have learned from joining in the evening’s meal and fellowship. I prayed that our visitors had felt, and would continue to feel, “our love, our care, our kinship, and our hopes.” I gave thanks for grace received, and for the joy of grace shared.

I look forward to new opportunities for this mission-minded church to give grace.

Give Grace.


Give Grace…by Hart Brupbacher

November 2, 2010

By Hart Brupbacher, South Main Member

On Sunday mornings I am a part of South Main extending God’s grace to the homeless community through the Manna Ministry. We provide a warm welcome, a friendly and caring ear to prayerfully listen, a little food and coffee, a bag of essentials (like soap, razors, sewing kits and other miscellaneous essential items), and a brief devotional that includes reading a Bible passage and providing a brief commentary on the passage. Every week we touch the lives of between 20 and 50 homeless people.

We give the gift of true caring and in return we often receive a gift grace. An example: a conversation that has become permanently engraved in my memory. One of the men told me that at one time he had a much better life than he has now. Things turned bad, and he found himself homeless and on the street. Then he shared this insight: “Everything that has happened to me is a result of my own choices. I know that I’ve done wrong, and I know what I need to do to change. I pray to God for the strength to make the change”. His honesty, insight and faith seemed to provide a lesson many of us need to hear: a wonderful perspective and a gift of grace to me.

Our pastor, Steve Wells, sometimes says that “the ground is level at the base of the cross”. My experiences in the Manna ministry are proving that to be true – as we share grace (each of us both giving and receiving grace).

Give Grace.