I want to apologize for not posting in a long time. I think about what I’d like to write, or about sharing the words of my dear friend Carton, and just have not had the time or energy. I’ve been working hard to get the outdoor ministry up and running, and want to share that journey with you now. This ministry is called Here Now, because God is always with you where-ever you are, when-ever you are. Here’s a wonderful story about a “Still Speaking God” affirming this ministry in so many ways.
When I was in seminary I was so clear that I wanted to work as a turn-around minister. Most of my classes were geared towards leadership and pastoral care; pastoral care mostly because I saw that as a huge growing edge for me.
By the end of my first semester I started reading and writing about homelessness on the Cape. I was awe-struck by the stories of a classmate, Lance, who worked in North Hampton with Cathedral in the Night. “I could NEVER do that!” I said. And yet, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the empty houses and empty hotels on the Cape and all the people living in the woods, sleeping on the green, or in stairwells, or on the beaches. By the time I graduated in May 2017 I felt a strong call to working with people experiencing homelessness. In order to be ordained I had to participate in Christian Pastoral Education (CPE), but each time I applied and was accepted into a program, the program closed. This was a real problem. I got permission to do an online CPE course. This was, I now believe, a God moment. With this online program I could choose my sites, right here on the Cape. I chose Cape Cod Hospital and through an Angel named Jane I was able to work at Duffy Health. Within a couple of months, Duffy Health Center (a Primary Medical Home for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness) had hired me as a part time Spiritual Care provider. This was a huge affirmation that I was moving in the right direction. The next affirmation came in meeting the good people of Youth Street Reach. I had brought children to this program before, but now I was meeting in Marilyn’s house and learned that they had initially wanted to offer outdoor ministry. I had met my people. They encouraged, and affirmed and supported my work and new ministry initiative. South Congregational Church, where I am associate Pastor, included this outdoor ministry in their visioning and have been overwhelmingly supportive throughout this whole process, offering both grants and all kinds of assistance in getting this ministry up and running. There are too many angels at South Church to name! Other angels like Edye, Rick, Arlene, Gene, Izzy and of course Dan continued to let me know that I was moving in the right direction. Rarely did I hit a dead end or even a speed bump.
I reached out to ministry partners and put together an incredible team of people to help start this outdoor ministry. Bill, Dave, Rev. Michael, and Bruce all working on the administrative and financial end of things while Rev. Mary and Michael and I talked about worship. Liz guiding us through, full of ideas and support based in her experiences of ministering to the outdoor community. However, we still needed an outdoor space; one that was welcoming and in the Hyannis area. I approached Rev. John at the Baptist church. Without hesitation he not only said yes, but started immediately coming up with worship ideas that would “cover people in the Love of God.” Angels are all around us, people!
And so, after two years of all kinds of networking, but more importantly, after two years of getting to know and deeply care about people in the Hyannis area who are living with homelessness or at risk of homelessness, I felt as ready as we’d ever be to start this outdoor worship experience.
Our first service was on the Sunday after Easter. We celebrated New Life by offering a safe space to explore faith, to be with seekers and sinners and doubters and believers, and to celebrate our unity as beloved children of the Divine. It was beautiful. More to come on that…..
Thanks for understanding the break in blogs. I hope to be back regularly.
If you’d like to find out more about, or want to support Here Now Ministries in any way, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at South Congregational Church 508-775-8332.
Peace & Blessings!