Please Know...

As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Leaning on Scripture in Relational Ministry

Today, Sunday, February 25, 2018, marks a turning point in my relational ministry to the good people of Emerald City and its neighboring bridge communities.  This is the first day that I took my message of the importance of relational ministry on the road to a congregation to share with fellow believers the message of life addicted, homeless and calling the underside of a Conrail overpass 'home.'

It is on this day that I spoke during the worship service at Otterbein United Methodist Church in Mont Clare, Pa.  I had been invited by Pastor Deborah Gildart-Hanks their pastor who I met when she was an associate pastor at my church of membership: Elam United Methodist Church.

I shared with those in attendance the very real stories of a man and a woman I've come to know and love under those bridges.  I shared the story of a tradesman and a preacher's daughter.  I shared with them his nearly fatal pneumonia and her Faith-founded determination not to abort her child conceived in rape. 

I shared with them the real account of one high school star athlete who slid into third base the wrong way breaking a leg, ending up on Percocet and moving to Emerald City after being thrown out of his home by his family due to the turmoil created by his legal prescription conceived addiction.

I also shared the sad truth of the uncle who paid his prepubescent niece a quarter each time not to tell her mother about the 'game' they played for several months and how that warped uncle's actions led this girl to heroin to kill the pain she was in following his hideousness.  I shared how she now 'dates' to support herself and her addiction.

As I was sharing these thoughts, I spoke from the 'lectern.'[1]  This is where the Bible sits and from where Bible passages are often read.  As I shared, I became aware that I was actually and very casually leaning on the Bible as it sat there.  I spoke from my heart as I leaned on Scripture.  When I first realized what I was doing, I thought that this was poor form and disrespectful of God's Word.  But then, as if God was telling me otherwise, I sensed that it was fine to lean on Scripture as I go about my ministry efforts which, in reality, are not my ministry efforts at all.

Thank you, Pastor Deborah, for your invitation.  Thank you, Congregation of Otterbein Church, for making me feel welcome, for your prayers and for your generous financial donation to these efforts!

[1] a stand with a sloping top on which a book or notes can rest in front of a standing speaker

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