Did you have a favorite story as a child? I did. Mine was The Fire Cat by Esther Averill. It was the story of a homeless cat named Pickles. With no one to care for him, Pickles terrorized other cats in the neighborhood. But a woman in the neighborhood named Mrs. Goodkind saw potential in Pickles. Through a strange twist of circumstances, Pickles becomes the Fire House cat whose life is turned around when he discovers his purpose in rescuing other cats that become stranded in trees. Pickles’ life changes because of Mrs. Goodkind’s compassion and encouragement. At one point in the story, she pronounces this promise over Pickles’ life: “Pickles, you are a big cat with big paws and someday you will do big things.”
As you all know, I’m much more of a dog person. Yet, the story of Pickles made a deep impression on me. That little story taught me something about life and the power of love to effect change in people’s lives. A good story has great power…
In the upcoming months, we hope to build stronger relationships with our neighborhood and the sharing of our stories will be an important part of that process. We hope to begin our outreach with Ruth Smith’s Photovoice project designed to capture the stories of our neighborhood. Ruth will draw together members of our church and those who live and work in the Centennial Neighborhood to share their stories through photo narrative.
During the month of April, you’ll hear more about our Community Garden. There will be neighborhood walks to invite our neighbors to get involved. We plan to host Community Cookouts to draw together members of our community for food and fellowship; so we can get to know one another and share our stories with one another. On each Sunday in April, during morning worship, members of this team will share ways you can become engaged in this initiative.
Another team of Trinity folks will meet with teachers and administrators at Miller Elementary School in hopes of identifying families in need with whom we can build relationships over the course of the school year. Along with providing school supplies, we’ll come together regularly for food and fellowship and, once again, have the opportunity to share our stories with one another and build relationships. This team will make announcements in worship throughout the month of May.
Beginning in July, Morris DuBose will lead a small group of Trinity folks who will come together to share their stories with one another over the course of several weeks. Sharing our stories allows us to become more aware of God’s grace moving in our lives. Knowing our history provides the opportunity for us to view our individual stories through the lens of faith. Author Lisa Hess writes:
You know less about yourself now than you will when you have shared your story. If you are willing to risk becoming more aware of the mystery of being human and a child of God, you will come to hear unexpected elements of your own story...
Our biblical gospels are stories that draw us into relationship with Jesus. I hope in the upcoming months that you will get engaged in these various groups that will allow us to fulfill Trinity’s vision of growing in love and service through relationships with God and community.
Read more about the Community Garden.
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