“Being poor stinks!” said the woman to me at the check-out lane. I asked her how she was and she took me seriously. In fact, she went on for the next ten minutes. (Thank goodness no one else was in line!) A broken marriage, a mother who had died and left her with a feeling of abandonment, unsupportive siblings to help her deal with settling her mother’s estate, a pregnant daughter out of state whom she is desperate to be with at the time of delivery, financial problems. Yes, being poor stinks!
North Judson United Methodist Church, pastored by Rev. David Mullens, is serving its community’s poor in a variety of ways–clothing ministry, food bank, etc. However, what it’s doing that’s unique is that everything is home delivered. Lay people take the clothes to the family, allow them to try the clothes on to make sure they fit, hear their stories, and pray with them. The same with the food. Rather than having people stand in a line, lay members bring bags of food to each family, spend time listening to their stories and pray with them.
You see it isn’t just about the clothes or the food, it’s about being present about offering prayers and hope. Something that we Christians can do anywhere–even at the check-out line. You see poverty stinks. People feel alone. Many are as desperate for a listening ear and prayer, as they are for the goods we have to offer them.
How about your church? How is it serving the poor?
— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director for Church Development