October 24, 2009
By Chelsea Wade, Buckner Ministries Coordinator
Some of the best things about walking on this Earth are the extraordinary moments that result from ordinary events. I have the opportunity to work with a great group of high school students three days a week. My duties each day include: mediator, snack-server, listening ear, and even proofreader.
Each day brings a new challenge and a new breakthrough so I always look forward to the next one. When the students are content they exude immense amounts of excitement. The consistency provided contributes to their comfort as well. Classes might be difficult and dynamics with friends may change but the After School Program has smiling faces and activities.
I feel particularly connected to the students because I can understand what high school was like. I am proud that they could be anywhere else but they look forward to “the church”. This moniker captures all that South Main is for these students. We are “the church” where students race to arrive. This is “the church” that students tell their friends about.
When I think about my vision for the program I hope to create a strong support system with resources and activities that students look forward to. I also hope that students can reflect on their time at the After School Program with fond memories. I also plan to reflect on the reminders of God’s presence.
Around 6:45 p.m. on a Thursday the last few students were headed out the door. I heard a combination of the phrases “Have a good weekend!” and “Bye, Miss Chelsea!” before one student said “God bless you, Chelsea.” I must have paused for at least ten seconds. He and I have never had a single discussion about God but I do not doubt his sincerity. The words seemed to linger in the air after everyone left. I smiled because the progress made is undeniable. This program exists for a reason and the students are grasping our mission of love. That day I received a blessing that I never expected: assurance. Every student may not have a strong understanding of what faith is but they certainly know that we care.
September 18, 2009
By Amy Grizzle, Minister to Adults
My college friend Katie grew up Episcopalian. She and her husband now attend a Baptist church, joined a Sunday School class, and make sure their children are in Sunday School and worship every Sunday. They are enjoying a good church with good folks. She calls me from time to time to ask me “Baptist questions” since I’m the homegrown Baptist she knows best.
Katie called recently to let me know she’s on bed rest late in her pregnancy with their second child and to ask a “Baptist question.” I was expecting a doctrinal question, but Katie’s question concerned casseroles. Members of her church surprised Katie with a meal saying they knew bed rest makes it hard on a family. She was truly touched by their thoughtfulness, but also truly shocked. “In our church growing up, you came to worship, you were seen, you went home, and you told people you go to church there. Here, people showed up at my door with a casserole and I thought they were at the wrong house. You’re a minister now, what’s up with that, Amy?” I laughed and simply said, “we’re Baptists—food says you care. And it means they know you.” Katie laughingly responded, “yeah, now they know I have holes in my slippers.”
Sometimes being cared for means being known. It’s what happens when you’re invested in a community. It has nothing to do with denomination and everything to do with the heart and soul of a community of faith. Being a Christian means we are both willing to give and willing to receive. And sometimes that means people see the holes in your slippers…I’m just glad I’m not the only one with holey house shoes.