Though we only had the launch of Street Hope Saint John a few weeks ago, we had been meeting and praying regularly, for some time. We knew we wanted to serve God by serving the marginalized and we knew that we did not want to start a service ministry of our own but rather to partner with or come alongside an existing ministry. As we prayed, and talked, and walked, we discovered that there were few hot meals offered on Friday nights. The only regular one we knew of was the monthly “Steppin’ Stone Café” at Stone Church. With this burden on our hearts we began to pray but we knew we could not fill that gap by ourselves.
It was then that I had a conversation with my good friend and Threshold Ministries colleague Catherine Bonham. As the Community worker for Stone Church she had recognized the need for a ‘drop in’ on Saturday mornings. After much conversation and prayer we decided that Street Hope and Stone Church should partner on this venture. The idea is that because there is often no supper the night before that people will benefit from a hot breakfast. We also know several people who sleep outside and could use a place to get warm after a cool night.
The Street Hope Community were so excited to be doing something in service. Just a few years ago most would have seen themselves as only recipients and never givers. It is our discovery that God does not only love cheerful givers but he makes givers cheerful!
B. is a great example. He came early to help leaving vacant his usual spot for pan handling. After washing up really well, he spent the morning mixing and making some of the best pancakes that I have tasted. People that knew him in years past would not recognize the grinning, sweating, servant that worked so hard that morning. He tells me it was the best time he has had in a long time and how he looks forward to next time.
S. comes from a world of addictions and deep depression. He is discovering hope in Jesus and he plated and poured syrup on hundreds of pancakes with the greatest of gusto!
M. was loading and unloading the dishwasher. Not long ago her nervous condition was so pronounced we wouldn’t let her near anything but paper plates. But God is at work! This is the good news made visible to us.
Our prayer was that Christ would be central to the whole event. We showed a Rob Bell video “Lump” twice during the drop in. The powerful message is that “there is nothing you can do to make God love you less.” Anne, who has been joining us at Up Town lately, sang a couple of old time gospel songs. In our debrief we decided that tomorrow we will add a ‘prayer corner’.
We had approximately 50 people there and we expect this to grow in the future. We are praying about what other partnerships we might form in future and of course we are praying for the resources to continue and to grow.