if you've read the "about" section of my website you know that i'm married to a pastor, who is the overseer of a small prayer community in a neglected neighborhood in our city. together we've lived here 4 years (though i lived here before marrying him, too). it's home. our work here looks many days like simply living here and showing up and trying to show our neighbors -- whose families are mostly all so broken and painful -- what the Family of God is like, and to be sure they know that they're invited into it. no matter how they look or what they've done or who they are, the Father calls them Home to himself. that's the good news of the gospel of Jesus.
and in the last few years we started to see that some of the neighbors we've been walking with so long at our weekly community meals (and in other interactions throughout the week) are calling their gatherings with us "church," and are hungry to know more about who Jesus is and what it means to follow him. so we started something a little more like a church meeting, which means it includes some pre-planned worship, a time to hear a teaching or participate in a round-table discussion of a part of the Bible, and some time to pray for one another. we'd been doing it in our three-stall garage, which we converted into a permanent prayer room and meeting place several years ago. but this year, we felt nudged to move it to the same polish hall we rent for our weekly community meals (called Love Feasts), and to a Wednesday night (instead of Sunday), so that more folks might find it accessible and welcoming.
this past week we held our first church gathering in the hall, on a wednesday night, immediately before Love Feast. i was happy to see that several friends who haven't joined in the church gathering in the prayer garage chose to take a seat in the circle up in the hall before love feast, where they worshipped, and listened, and even wept.
i invite you to come along with me to the first gathering of the stockbridge boiler room church family... on a wednesday night.. in a polish hall... followed by a shared meal around the table.
note: because we meet in a polish hall and this gathering happened on the eve of Pulaski Days, there were many beer banners being hung on the walls as we met. :)