Newsletter Updates for the Week of April 3, 2017

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Welcome from Haywood Street:

Tom tells us he doesn’t know what he’s doing, but we don’t believe him for a second. The grape trellises are coming along beautifully.

Thanks to a generous donation by Brook Sheffield, owner of LOTUS Farm and Garden Supply, we now have twice the number of bees!

Find more pictures and stories from our congregation here


> Thursday, April 13, 2017 will be a Hospitality Room workday. If you would like to help with the painting, picture hanging, lifting and moving, please contact Emily Bentley at or 828-575-2477 Ext. 106. We’ll get started at 10 a.m.

> Full details including agenda have been published for our upcoming “Ministry WITH” training workshop, May 24-27.  Learn more.

> Companion Reflection: Monday, April 17th, 5:15 – 7:15 p.m. All companions are invited to join Mark and Emily for a community reflection time in the dining room. We would like to begin these quarterly gatherings by reflecting on the word “companion” itself.  Please consider the following two questions between now and the 17th: 1. When have you experienced the gift of a good companion? 2. What have you learned about companionship through your time at Haywood Street?  Dinner will be provided!

“Confrontation at the Grave” – Sermon by Rev. Brian Combs, 4/5/17

A Haywood Reflection from Brook:

Last week, Haywood Street held a service honoring the lives of Stevie “Woody” Banks, Sherry Liner and Carol Brookshire. I did not have the good fortune of knowing these friends, but I was grateful that my schedule allowed me to attend.

Arrive early, I thought. Park far away as to allow loved ones to park close. Dress nice; black is appropriate. I remember being ten, attending my great-aunt’s funeral. “Your demeanor should be solemn,” someone whispered. Be solemn…be solemn….

But this scene was different. I did not, it turns out, need to park so far away. The sanctuary was not standing room only. There were Haywood Street friends, Homeward Bound friends and friends from the streets. Many pews were empty. It had not occurred to me, until now, that for those who live on the margins and die on the margins, community is often defined by a few.

Pastor Mark led the way, inviting anyone who felt compelled to share a story or a memory. One unhoused man apologized for the clothing he wore which he wished was nicer on this day. He lit a candle for Woody. A group of homeless men and women led us in singing Amazing Grace and our dear companion, Terry, read us this poem:

In The Arms of Heaven

Who were you?
You were the world weary man under the bridge, invisible and alone.
You were the person deep in the woods, sitting by a small campfire, just trying to stay warm.
You were the woman running, hiding, from the fist that kept beating you down.
You were the man that some people crossed the street to avoid.
You were the person fighting your addictions and your illness as best you could.
You were the mother, softly weeping, as your children slept, shivering, in the cold dark car.
You were the man taken to jail because you dared to sleep on the park bench where others might see you and be offended.

Who you were:
You were a beloved child of God. Perhaps you never knew that. Too many church doors were closed to you. You were a woman full of grace and beauty, but you rarely ever heard those words spoken out loud. Maybe you never heard them at all.
You were a man with God given talents and potential. Oh, so much potential!
You were a good, smart person, but “polite society” only saw the wear and tear of the street covering you.
You were Every Man and Every Woman trying to survive on the streets. Often we were too busy to stop and truly see you.
You were our friends and neighbors, our Brothers and Sisters. Your friendships made us better people…just because we knew you!

Who are you?
You are the person now resting IN THE ARMS OF HEAVEN forever.



(Terry Beamer, 2015)

During this fifth week of Lent, Pastor Brian reminds us that what we believe about death, reveals what we believe about God.

On this day, at this funeral, there are no limousines waiting to take us to proper burial sites. No sunglasses hiding red and teary eyes. We stand, at the metaphorical grave and together gaze six feet down, clinging to our faith and hope for life everlasting. We weep because even Jesus weeped. And we celebrate, unabashedly.

Find more pictures and stories from our congregation here.  

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