Newsletter Updates for the Week of June 12, 2017

Welcome from Haywood Street:

This week Pastor Brian offered a welcoming blessing to Seth Black, Haywood Street’s newest Community Resident.

Our friend Kelly offered her beautiful voice for both Sunday and Wednesday services.

Find more pictures and stories from our congregation here.

Updates:

> Click HERE for Haywood Street Congregation parking options.

> The clothing closet is in need of men’s and women’s clothing and shoes as well as hygeine prducts. Drop off options are Tuesdays 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and Sundays 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.  The clothing closet is also in need of companions, espescially Sundays, 2:00 – 5:30. Please contact Emily Bentley for more information.

> Thursday, June 22: Come out to the first softball game of the season! Anyone can play or watch. Meet at Haywood Street at 6 p.m., transportation will be provided to and from. Game held at Reeves Chapel, 225 Sardis Rd. Free hotdogs and drinks! (Equipment donations, especially gloves, would be greatly appreciated).

“An Astounding Welcome” – Sermon by Rev. Brian Combs, 6/14/17

A Haywood Reflection from Seth:

Hello, everyone! My name is Seth Black, and I am one of the Community Residents here on staff at Haywood Street. I arrived two weeks ago after graduating from Young Harris College in Georgia this past May and will be a part of this incredible community for a year. During this year, I will live at Respite, helping out wherever I can and with the Downtown Welcome Table specifically – basically doing whatever Dave tells me to do and whatever Spirit lays on my heart. I could not be more excited. Even though I have only been here a few weeks, I already feel a sense of home, which is a testament to the depth of acceptance and compassion that characterizes this sacred place and these sacred people. It is truly inspiring to be a part of a group that, in my opinion, epitomizes the call to “be” the church – something I have witnessed ever sense first stepping onto the property. However, Haywood Street also feels like a home I think because, well, it’s literally my home for the next year.

I am living on campus in Respite in a room that has been beautifully repurposed from its former status as a stairwell. Though I have a private room to myself, almost every aspect of my daily routine takes place in community – a communal bathroom, communal kitchen, communal living space, etc. For this reason, my home life is my work life in a way, but I could think of no better way to “be home” than to “be with” our friends who stay with us. If I am not downstairs in the kitchen with Wayne and Dave, downtown reading at a coffee shop on my days off, or taking a nap, I am wandering around Respite doing my best to embrace the idea of ministry as a way of being and a way of existing with others.

Now, I do not consider myself a seasoned scholar by any means, but my undergraduate degree in Religious Studies has afforded me the opportunity to examine and expand my personal understanding of life, love, and God in ways that I would have never thought of before. Within my studies, I have found that that these three are intimately interconnected (perhaps even one and the same) and rooted in the reality of being itself. I mean, if you look in Exodus, the name God gives God’s self can be interpreted as “I AM” – literally a form of the verb to be – which at least to me validates Paul Tillich’s theological consideration of God as the “Ground of Being.” For me, God is that which gives rise to being, propels existence, and calls us to be. This is how I have come to experience the Divine and, consequentially, where I start with ministry: being.

It is one thing to read about theology. It is quite another, though, to put it into practice, and that is exactly what Haywood Street has given and I’m sure will continue to give me: a chance to embody the notion of ministry as primarily ontological, of or relating to the nature of being itself. As I reflect on these past few weeks and my life as whole, it has occurred to me that people do not necessarily always want words or things but, rather, the simplicity of someone being there – to presently share in the mystery we call life. Living in this community of friends, sharing presence is precisely the way in which I carry out my day, which has already molded my understanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ. We are called to be and be with, to step into the presence of God by being present to life and sharing it through love. As a result, it seems pretty clear to me that sharing the Gospel in its most raw form means sharing space with another and realizing that such a space is holy ground because it is a product of that which grounds our being. I look forward to sharing space with you all this year.

 

For more stories and pictures from our congregation, click here.

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