“Hello, my name is Jacob.* Welcome to Trinity,” said the young man who greeted me at the church kitchen door. “Hi Jacob, I’m Pastor Annette.** I’m from University Baptist. It’s nice to meet you. I have lots of pie my car. Can you tell me where it goes?”
“Is that your true hair color?” Jacob replied, “Because it is really beautiful.”
“Umm, some of it is mine,” I said.
“Well, I think it is stunning on you, positively a work of art.”
“Wow, thanks!” Truth is, I’m the tiniest bit vain about my hair so I was beaming just a little.
He continued, “And also, did you know that dogs and cats have the exact same arrangement of teeth?”
And for the millionth time I thought to myself, “Why do we think writing books is hard? Isn’t it just taking notes?” So went our Sunday afternoon at Trinity Episcopal, serving Christmas dinner to approximately one hundred guests. Some live on the street. Others have places to stay but no family with whom to share the holiday. Many are mentally ill or struggle with addiction. Some are rough and some are gentle. Most are unbelievably poor. One young woman came in, sat on the floor, leaned on the wall and fell deep asleep in her coat and boots. She had a terrible cough. We tried to wake her but she was just too tired. More tired than hungry. We kept checking her pulse and forehead as if she were our sleeping baby. Another guest took off her own sweatshirt and tucked it around her legs. Everyone ate and ate and ate. Afterward they got out puzzles and turned on a movie, just like my house on Christmas afternoon.
The Episcopalians and the Baptists got on like family in the kitchen and the serving line. Deacon Connie is the Episcopalian minister in charge of the community meal. As best I can tell this involves organizing the volunteers, leading the prayer, breaking up the fights and cleaning up the vomit. She literally outworked me twenty times over. You know she loves Jesus because she calls an afternoon like this, “just a whole lot of fun!“ She seemed glad we came and is open to us helping more in the future.
I’m so grateful to Carl and Nathan for organizing the food UBC contributed. Thanks to Deborah, Susanne, Janet, Donetta, Bill, Greg, Jen, Heidi, Asher, Tate, Tucker and Etheridge for cooking, transporting, serving and cleaning up. Thanks to Don and June for providing food and supplies. Thanks to Fan for the 50 sweet scarf/gift packages she made for the guests. Thanks to anyone else I’ve inadvertently left out. I love, love, love when Christmas Day falls on Sunday. You all made it just a whole lot of fun!
*Not his real name
**My real name