LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR AS AN ECCLESIA
Working as an Ecclesia
There are many opportunities for individual brothers and sisters, and even small groups of them, to support others in the local community who need our help and compassion. Perhaps your ecclesia is ready to work together, to do so as a united community of faith. We’ve included some options on how to do so below.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16
Assemble small hygiene kits for delivery to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
Get together as a group in your hall and assemble small hygiene kits for delivery to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Ideas for the hygiene kit may include a bar of soap, deodorant, comb, toothbrush, small toothpaste tube, and a face cloth in a quart Ziploc bag. It’s worth checking with the local charity before you get started, if possible, as they’re in a good position to know which items are most needed.
Take sandwiches to a shelter or a soup kitchen.
Prepare a very large collection of peanut butter sandwiches to bring to a shelter or soup kitchen to be handed out. Peanut butter sandwiches do not need refrigeration. Of course, line up your partnership with the place you will take them in advance. Figure out the ratio of loaves of bread to jars of peanut butter with a trial run.
These both can eventually become regularly scheduled ecclesial activities.
Visit a nearby park or playground to do litter cleanup. If it’s closed, the community organization responsible for the facility may be able make arrangements for you to be there. Or, become one of those groups you have seen on roadside signs – Adopt a Highway – taking responsibility for litter cleanup along a stretch of road. It’s a great way to let local people know there’s a Christadelphian ecclesia close by!
Food and clothing collections
Set-up a cycle of regular Sundays on which brothers and sisters can bring in items to be donated to local charities. Maybe a food collection Sunday and a Sunday to bring in white men’s socks – always in high demand at homeless shelters. Less often, bring in lightly worn but still usable warm clothing: coats, hats, gloves/mittens.
Rent your hall space
Your meeting hall itself is an asset you could share with your neighbors who need help with life. Some local groups that might be able to benefit greatly include Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. It would be reasonable to charge a low rent to cover your added electric and heating costs.
Shelter the Homeless
Offer your meeting hall to house homeless families one or twice a year. The Interfaith Hospitality Network is regularly looking for places to do exactly that. Each area has its own Interfaith Hospitality Network organization and website. They can tell you more about what your role(s) would be.
Before doing any support activities that will result in the public being on your ecclesial property (either inside or just in the parking lot), ensure the ecclesia has adequate liability insurance. There may also be zoning ordinances and local regulations about traffic, safety, health, access for the disabled, and operation of a public charity you would need to comply with.
Consider any adverse impact on your neighbors and the neighborhood in which your ecclesial hall is located.
Finally, emphasize your commitment to love of neighbor and discipleship with a slogan on your ecclesial outdoor sign, regular newsletter, etc. One we like is “Walking as Jesus Walked”.
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