Pittsburgh is known as the “City of Bridges.” There are 446 of them that cross three major rivers: the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio. In fact, there are more bridges here than any other city in the world. Even Venice, Italy has fewer.
As Christadelphians we all are in the business of bridge building—both interpersonally and spiritually. That’s why it felt good for members of The Outreach Committee of the Pittsburgh Ecclesia when we connected with Suzanna Mower who runs an organization she calls “Saturday Suppers.” She works with an interfaith network of churches and volunteers to do far more than distribute meals to the homeless (who often shelter under the bridges and overpasses of Pittsburgh) every Saturday. Here’s a description in her own words:
“We are an organization that goes out and feeds the streets. Essentially, we believe that when you feed the body it opens the soul to wishfully receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel called to the lost in the streets of Pittsburgh and the broken. We are connected with a number of other volunteers and organizations to do what we do…. Every Saturday I come out with volunteers and we serve 80-100 hot, hearty and nutritious meals, along with other essential items such as deodorant, toothpaste, brushes, underwear, socks, gloves, handwarmers and blankets among other things. Basically, anything they need, I try and get. I believe these people, as problematic as society sees them… still need and deserve love and looked in the eyes and told Jesus loves them.… Blessings, blessings and more blessings to you and your congregation!”
We met outside the Pittsburgh Chapel on Saturday, December 5, to transfer the 20 sleeping bags from The Garden to Suzanna’s van. The bags all had a tag with our contact information and a Tidings pamphlet inserted inside. They were sent on their way with Suzanna, soon to be distributed along with a hot meal and other necessities. She invited us to ride along one day, another eye-opening bridge to be crossed. We were reminded of the instructions to the ecclesia at Colossae:
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…. And above all these, put on love, which binds [bridges] everything together in perfect harmony.” (Col 3: 12, 14 ESV).