I slept and dreamt that life was joy. / I awoke and saw that life was service. / I acted and behold, service was joy. (Rabindranath Tagore)
Every Wednesday morning, friends and volunteers from several area Presbyterian churches gather at First Presbyterian Church on Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans to serve alongside one another in a collaborative mission effort that’s called Program of Hope. Our mission is very simple: to feed, to clothe, to encourage, to foster hope, and to answer God’s call to serve sisters and brothers by sharing our compassion and time.
Below you will find a few words from one of Lakeview’s own, Jennie Langham, who was gracious enough to serve alongside me one Wednesday morning just a few weeks ago. It is my prayer that her thoughtful words will help to clarify the scope and reach of this vital ministry and to further tell this remarkable mission story that can and SHOULD include others who are a part of the Lakeview family. Furthermore, it is my sincerest hope that Jennie’s story will inspire you to heed the call, to come and see the Spirit at work, and to know once again the joy that is found in serving. So come. Take part! Come and worship, feed, love and serve…
It Was a Very Good Time
Amazing! Awesome! Exhilarating! Not just “good”. Such were my reactions to a Wednesday morning spent recently at the First Presbyterian Church on S. Claiborne Avenue. I covet the experience the experience for many others in the LPC congregation.
First Presbyterian has always had a vital community ministry. After Katrina dealt vehemently with New Orleans, the church transformed its second floor into sleeping space and became a base for volunteer groups coming in to help rebuild the city. I remember so well! Although I was physically in Florida, my saddened heart was in New Orleans. Whenever I could, I joined up with a group from the Washington, D.C. area who made several trips to FPC.
That corner on S. Claiborne has remained a citadel of mission and ministry. On Wednesday morning, around nine o’clock, we entered the sanctuary. It was truly a sanctuary of hope. Everything was ready and in place. Lunches provided by other churches (Lakeview among them), clothing appropriate for all age groups, sizes and seasons of the year was conveniently displayed, vouchers for overnight at a homeless facility, information available for health care—you name it! It was there.
The morning opened with a worship service with our own Lakeview pastor participating. Those attending were encouraged to share their thoughts and prayer needs. The sanctuary was filled with volunteers and those adults of a wide range of ages, gender and cultures seeking aid. Yes, and there were some children.
Thank you FPCNO for being a light unto the community. Thank you, Lakeview for participating in this so important ministry. Thank you Barrett Milner for making my participation possible.
To those of you who have never had this rewarding experience, I say, “Try it, you’ll like it.”
To learn more about the Program of Hope and other mission opportunities here at Lakeview Presbyterian Church, please contact the church office or your mission committee chairperson, Reuben Chrestman. You each have unique gifts to share. You each can make a difference. So come and see for yourself. Experience the joy that’s found in answering God’s call to serve.
Peace and grace,