Check out today’s Daily Office prayer, Community of Hope is recognized on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, http://dailyoffice.org/2014/12/12/morning-prayer-12-12-14-friday-of-advent-2-our-lady-of-guadalupe/

O God, Father of mercies, who placed your people under the singular protection of your Son’s most holy Mother, grant that all who invoke the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe may seek with ever more lively faith the progress of peoples in the ways of justice and of peace; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

ak1Every year we know of 50-60 homeless people who die on the streets of Albuquerque. This year the situations surrounding these deaths has been particularly painful.

On Sunday at Community of Hope we began the service with a lament for Kee Thomson and Allison Gormann, two men recently beaten to death. This coming Saturday, August 2nd, there will be a service honoring and remembering Kee and Allsion. The service will be held at Noonday Ministries (Broadway and Central) at 11:00 a.m. and will be followed by a friendship meal.  All are invited.

Let us remember, let us pray, and let us look toward the day God’s kingdom will come on earth as in heaven.

 

 

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Bennie sings “Down to the River to Pray”

When we began Community of Hope one of the core values was that of building community. We sought to build community among those divided by race, class, economic divides, and housing status. We sought to build community through the eyes of God who created all people in the divine image and we boldly state that in each others eyes we see Christ.

The ways we have built community have grown over the years. There are many who come simply to serve, the line between volunteer and recipient is often blurred. We have built community by giving people voice who often feel silenced.

On Sunday, we spoke of the ways people support each other. We heard the refrain from the late Maya Angelou, “Nobody, but nobody Can make it out here alone” from her poem, Alone. We heard Jesus words, I am with you always. From the community came unexpected music, testimony, and prayers.

Community grew, once again. Because, “Nobody, but nobody Can make it out here alone”.

When we began Community of Hope the vision was to bring people together housed and street, churched and unchurched. Here is a video of that realized as people from four very different walks of life join voices in one song:

Community of Hope in the news… taken from the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. To see the original link go to Ministry WITH

Experiencing the Transformational Power of the Spirit in “Ministry WITH”

For several years, Central UMC in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico has been in ministry with a group of people experiencing homelessness and living on the margins.  Building on this foundation, in 2012 Central UMC began a weekly outdoor worship service called Community of Hope, which functions as the worship extension of the ministries with the homeless and marginalized. (See “Community of Hope: Planting a New Seed at a UMC”).

Community of Hope is a group of people– housed and street, churched and unchurched– who come together on Sunday afternoons to build community through worship and the sharing of a meal. Community of Hope embodies the belief that every person is created in the image of God and that in each other’s eyes we see Christ.

The people who participate in Community of Hope have taken complete ownership of it. Without being asked, people help to tear down, set up, lead worship, pray, speak, and play music.

On weekdays, Central United Methodist Church has a ministry called Helping Hands, where we give out bus passes, sack lunches, clothes, toiletries, etc. — while treating people with dignity and respect. Every Friday at Helping Hands we have a Bible study. For Lent we are using Rueben Job’s new book on prayer.

One recent Friday many of our volunteers had other commitments and we were short-handed. So I drafted David and Daniel, two people I know well who come to Helping Hands for assistance.

When Daniel and David were invited to share their gifts and graces at Helping Hands, they received and bestowed hospitality, respect and affirmation. They were so moved that I asked them to help that they asked when can they serve again.  Then they took an important next step.

That Friday, for the first time,  David and Daniel stayed after for the Bible study. At the Bible study, which included eighteen people, they chose to share their gifts and graces again, this time by giving testimony.  David shared how his prayer life gave him strength to cope with his wife’s death. Daniel shared how God changed his life in jail through prayer.

While these experiences on Friday were enough to make my heart soar, two days later after the traditional church service at Central, I saw a clean shaven man in a suit I had never seen before. When I introduced myself, he said “It’s me. Daniel.”

Not only had Daniel cleaned himself up, put on a suit, and come to worship at Central, but he also served in every way possible at Community of Hope: setting up, tearing down, hooking up the sound system, serving food, etc.

In Ministry WITH, Daniel had experienced the transformational power of the Spirit.  And so had I.