I just love our weekly gathering. Some would call it a small group….others….a bible study….more might call it a missional community or a life group. Whatever you want to call it…I LOVE it! It started as a group of people from Commonwealth Chapel who met together for what we call Missional Community…where we did fellowship, read the Bible and prayed together. In addition…we would do things to meet the needs of our community. In this case, Southern Barton Heights.
So here we are…a couple of years later…and our group now consists of mainly our friends from the community…and just a couple of people from church. We experience real life together. We have gone through really hard things together…unemployment, drug and alcohol addictions, family “stuff”…and we have gone through the good things as well…employment! New cars! Sobriety! New people and friends! New homes! I can’t imagine life without my Thursday night gathering of friends…my Spiritual Family, who encourage me from one day to the next, who call me out when I’m not being real, who love me even when I mess up! I could go on and on!
We meet every Thursday night from 6-8pm. Or…something like 8pm. We are guilty of going til 8:30 or later…becasue we enjoy each other so much. But, people are free to scoot if they need to. If you want to come…and join us in real talk…real life….and learn about Jesus…we welcome you! We eat together (covered dish style) at 6-7p…while we also talk about what is happening in our lives. Then, we spend time talking about what God has to say to us through the Word…also known as the Bible. We close with some prayer…for our concerns, our community, and our city.
Starting the first week of January, we will be talking through the Seven Signs in John. Come and join us and bring a friend!
This past Saturday, we threw our first annual Birthday Party for Jesus at All Souls Presbyterian in Barton Heights; Richmond, VA! We had a GREAT time! Jesse the Juggler wowed us all with his juggling expertise, while telling us the story of Creation and the birth of Jesus. Some of the kids got in on the juggling action as well! I think at least one of them has a future in juggling…at least we know the Isaiah has quite an arm!
The story of the Birth of Jesus was read to the kids…taken from the Bible… Luke 2:1-20.
Then, Santa showed up to celebrate Jesus’s birthday; and he even brought gifts for kids of all ages!!! After singing Happy Birthday to Jesus, we had cake, candy canes and cookies with our lemonade.
In addition, we had a chance to color…although I didn’t realize that we had been given “Multicultural” Crayons, which had no bright colors like…blue, red and green! So…after a quick run to the Family Dollar (Thanks, Lauren and Rush!!!) we were in business.
Another big hit was the guessing game! Clint was the closest (without going over!!!) with his guess of 87…when there were 89 mint patties in the jar. I hope it’s all good at home…with all that chocolate in the house! Congratulations, Clint!
We all had such a terrific time! Thanks to all who helped! You guys totally rock! Special “shout out” to All Souls Pres, Commonwealth Chapel, and WEAG. Thanks for the support! In addition…major thanks my loving and supportive hubby, Louis, and the rest of my elves…Terence, Abbie, Paul, Lauren, Rush, Bishop, Jesse, Vashti, Gloria and my sweet, sweet Mom!
What great news to know that Jesus didn’t stay a little baby. I have peace, hope and joy in knowing that He grew up, died on the cross, rose from the dead (Easter), and will come again! THAT is the Good News of Jesus Christ! Who do you know that needs to hear that part of the story this season?
Joy to the World…and Peace on Earth.
Although I am often reminded of Richmond’s homeless population, when it is below freezing, windy and snowing outside…I am REALLY reminded of them….and my heart breaks. According to the July 2010 research data provided by a local organization, Homeward, that works to prevent and end homelessness:
- 73.9% of adults are males, 25.9% are females, and .2% are transgendered. Most homeless persons are single, never married adults (52.6%). 6.4% are married, and 47.4% of people
- experiencing homelessness are or have been in families, including those who are married, as well as those who are separated, widowed, or divorced.
- 10.9% of homeless persons have children living with them.
- A majority of persons report that they are African-American (60.6%), followed by White (31.6%). 4.1% indicated that they are Hispanic.
- The average age for adults is 43.7 years.
- 54.5% have just a high school education or GED. 22.4% attended some college, and 6.9% have a college degree or higher.
- 18.2% are veterans.
There is a lot of great work currently taking place to meet the needs of the homeless in Richmond at an organizational level. But, I was recently inspired by 2 new friends (Mary and Jordan Niermeyer) this fall. They moved in not too far from me 9 months ago, but I just met them a couple of months ago. Each year Mary and Jordan put together ziploc bags for the homeless, but this year, they opted to invite their friends to join them. In lieu of a housewarming party, they asked their friends to bring items that would help them build a bunch of bags to hand out. These bags consist of a piece of fruit, water bottle, crackers, granola bars, personal items, hand warmers, a couple of sweet treats, etc. In addition, we also included a list of resources for them to use. What a selfless, inspirational act!
So…today…it’s really really cold and snowing…and our homeless friends come to mind. A local church, West End Assembly of God (WEAG), recently gave me 50 bags with similar items…chapstick, crackers, soap, etc. But, I’d like to add a few more items to what is already there. I would love and NEED your help! If you or anyone you know would be interested in contributing, bring your items by the house…stuff a few bags then, take some with you! These are the items that we need (#s vary because we have already received some contributions):
- 50 pairs of gloves
- 45 stocking caps
- 35 pairs of socks (both men and women)
- 50 bottles of water
- 45 hand warmers
Thanks to you for giving! And…special shout out to Mary and Jordan for inspiring me! And to WEAG for getting me started!
Maybe this will inspire you as well! Grab your friends, family, children and make up some bags…and the next time you see a homeless person or someone in need, offer them a smile and a bag. In the Holy Bible, Paul reminds us in Acts 20:35b…
…You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus:
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
May you be blessed abundantly as you give! Joy to the World!
If you can supply some of our needs or have questions, please reply below! Thanks!
A number of people have contacted me recently wanting to know where we stand…are we a non-profit…how can they give to the work that we are doing in Southern Barton Heights, etc. So, this is a quick post to explain.
Louis and I are still doing our due diligence on the whole non-profit thing. Is it better to set up our own non-profit? continue to flow money they way that we have been? partner with another non-profit? We haven’t landed on exactly what we are going to do just yet. BUT, we would love to utilize any gifts or donations you would like to send our way.
So, in the meantime…if you would like to make an end-of-the-year (actually we will take your gifts anytime of the year!!!) tax deductible donation, please write a check to my church, Commonwealth Chapel (placing m2h in the memo portion) and send it to:Commonwealth Chapel 1836 Park Ave Richmond, VA 23220
Your gift will be used to meet the needs of the community, provide resources for the neighborhood kids, single moms, homeless, etc. In addition, we are looking to partner with Jobs for Life next year to provide job skills training to youth and the un- and under-employed adults. A lot is in the works!
Louis and I thank you for reading and for your support! We are looking forward to what the future has to hold! If you want to stay up-to-date on what’s happening…be sure to subscribe for updates by providing your email to the right!
Joy to the World and Peace on Earth!
Marti and Louis
I’ve been breaking from the blogging thing since October. Been too busy doin’ it to write about it…and frankly, just appreciating the lack of blogging downtime!
Louis and I have the tree and other decorations up (still need to lose the geraniums on the front porch tho!!!). Our travel will soon be over (1 more trilp to StL for me this week!). My job soon comes to an end after nearly 8 years (18 working days and counting). Now, we are going to take more time to love on our family and friends, spend more time with the Lord in prayer and in the Word, and look toward the future with much anticipation.
In the meantime, answer me this…What are YOU up to these days???
Also…enjoy the new WordPress effect…”Snow Falling” at Miss Marti’s House!