It’s almost Lent, the season of preparation and introspection before Easter. Hearkening back to Jesus meditating in the desert, Christians have historically used this time to practice something new spiritually–”giving up” something we value or “taking up” some new devotional habit–in order to grow closer to God. So this month we’re focusing on new and different spiritual practices that can enhance our relationship with ourselves and with God. We’ll also take a look at “Spiritual Practice”–the idea that we can “practice” connecting with God by trying out different ways to integrate the Divine into our daily and weekly rhythms.
Join us as we explore:
Discovery Sunday (1st Sunday): What the heck is Lent, and why do we practice it, anyway?
Open Mic Sunday (2nd Sunday): Try out some spiritual practices (meditation, reiki, feelings art, body prayer…) and share your own favorites with us!
Classic Sunday (3rd Sunday): Classic worship with a Lent-friendly, meat-free meal!
Music Sunday (4th Sunday): Music to carry us through Lent
We build relationships with the men at the Journey shelter by working with them to meet their needs of connecting with the world through computers. You don’t have to be a computer genius to help out. If you are proficient at checking email, connecting with others on Facebook, using a word processor, or writing a resume, your skills are needed!
Come at 10:50 am ready to serve–we’ll finish at 12:30 and then break for lunch together!
We meet every other Saturday at Journey Shelter at 1026 Ponce De Leon Ave in Atlanta. In November we are meeting on November 3rd and November 17th. Come join us!
Posted by Chris under Community
This week we tackle another one of Jesus’ difficult passages: he tells the disciples that those who wish to be the greatest should be servants to all. So we’re going to look at service – reflecting on the service we’ve done, what it means to us, and what we get out of it. Let’s face it, service sometimes feels like an obligation, or at best something we enjoy but schedule into small blocks of time, keeping it separate from our daily lives. But what if Jesus was actually calling us to service that’s life-giving, inspiring, and full of grace–service as a way of life?
Posted by Chris under Gatherings
While there is some confusion about what Occupy Wall Street and its affiliates stand for, the community that has sprouted up around the movement is something to behold. At Occupy Atlanta they offer food, childcare, legal assistance, and health care to anyone participating as a testament to an alternate way of doing community. Occupy Atlanta actually includes many people in its ranks who were already experiencing homelessness. Together with those who have chosen homelessness in protest of a broken economic system, they have now created what is so difficult to find in so many American cities: a group of neighbors willing to take care of each other and share “all things in common,” distributing “to all, as any had need.” (Acts 2:44)
This is a movement where it’s difficult to see who has a home to return to and who does not. Whether you agree with the many grievances the movement has espoused, the occupiers have shown us a face of solidarity between those who have and those in need. Isn’t this what the church should be striving for? To erase the lines that divide us? To treat one another as equals regardless of social location? This might be summed up in our UCC motto: “That they might all be one”.
I’m excited for the upcoming Mission 1, where the United Church of Christ will take 11 days between 11/1/11 and 11/11/11 to feed the hungry and confront food related injustice.
As part of our Mission 1 collection at Praxis we’ll be taking donations to the Occupy Atlanta movement where it will help support those who are living on the street–whether by choice or by circumstance. We’ll also collect canned goods that will go to the Atlanta Community food bank.
Here’s a list of items that the Occupy Atlanta protesters are requesting. If you bring these to Praxis we’ll make sure that they get to the organizers:
Food Essentials (bread, milk, sugar, peanut butter, jelly, dry foods, canned foods)
Gardening equipment (hoes, shovels, planters, seed!)
First aid supplies
Paper plates and bowls, napkins, paper towels,
Plastic forks, spoons
Personal hygiene items
Posted by lauren under Community
Have you ever wished for an opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone homeless? Ever wanted to increase your understanding about homelessness and alternative housing issues in Atlanta?You’re invited to Service Saturdays, a ministry of Praxis UCC’s Service and Justice team in partnership with Journey, the Druid Hills Men’s Shelter.
Now twice a month, we gather for coffee and fellowship to reflect on issues surrounding homelessness; then we hop across Ponce de Leon Ave. to Journey (next to Druid Hills Presbyterian) and do art with the residents in a low-key, fun environment. Our goal is to create relationships and allow everyone’s creativity to flourish, no matter how “good” at art we are–or aren’t! Come join us!
Saturday, October 8 · 9:30am – 12:30pm
San Francisco Coffee Roasting Company
Mark your calendars: October Service Saturdays are this Saturday, Oct. 8th, and October 29th!
Check out some pics from our last Service Saturday:
Preparing stencisl that say "Jesus was Homeless"
George's awesome "FAITH" t-shirt
Thanks to LauraBeth, Amaryah, Nancy, Liz, Lauren, and Chris for coming out! We hope to see YOU this Saturday!
Posted by Leah under Service
I realize this photo is not all that appealing (curse you, bad lighting!). But trust me, friends, this was one tasty dinner.
We hand-rolled 100+ bean and cheese enchiladas Friday night for the guys at the local men’s shelter, cooked up a big pot of Mexican rice, and collaborated on a salad (thanks Marvin!). Then we cleverly forgot to take pictures until all was devoured except the last half-pan.
One thing we love about this shelter (besides the guys staying there–a great crowd) is that servers cook, serve, and then are expected to sit down and eat with the shelter residents. So many shelters conveniently leave you behind the serving counter, at a safe distance from the folks with whom you’ve come to fellowship. This makes it easy to maintain stereotypes or assumptions about people experiencing homelessness, and it’s difficult to create real relationships when there’s always an “us” (serving)/”them” (being served) dynamic. We’ve found we have great conversations and develop good friendships with folks at the shelter, plus it’s fun to get to enjoy what you’ve spent so long cooking!
Speaking of which, we’ve previously made baked ziti, veggie chili, and red beans and rice with cajun sausage. It’s been interesting cooking for a roomful of men used to eating MEAT with vegetarians in our crew, but we have decided that hospitality is more important to us than eating rules (no matter how ethically, Jesus-ly, or environmentally driven)—if we show up with a dinner that no one likes just so that we can be righteously animal- or meat-free, have we really done our job to care for our brothers experiencing homelessness? (Side note: Friday night we did find out that one of the guys living at the shelter is vegetarian and who was SO thankful for meat-free options. So always having a veggie-friendly option for the vegetarians among the servers paid off!)
If you have any suggestions for easy-to-make but quality meals (we are also committed to avoiding stuff-out-of-a-can and pre-made casseroles–extravagant hospitality to us means, in part, caring for others by not making the industrial same-old same-old you find at lots of shelters) and especially if you want to volunteer with us, leave a comment or email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to have you, and so would the guys at the shelter!
Posted by Leah under Community
Following the coverage of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, it’s hard to contemplate the scale of how people’s lives are shaken and changed, and how difficult the road to rebuilding will be. It’s even harder to cope with the “why” of this tragedy and where God can be found amidst the death and devastation of this natural disaster. I have faith, however, that the Spirit of God works in the world, bringing people out of despair and towards a place of serving one another.
We pray for those who have lost loved ones, those who are rushing to save lives, and those who are striving to rebuild. We also pray that we’ll find ways to do our part in meeting the needs of people that are hurting, even as we live on separate sides of the globe.
The United Church of Christ has already begun to partner with other churches and organizations in Japan, sending money from the “One Great Hour of Sharing” offerings and through its International Disaster Relief program.
Praxis has a commitment to give 25% of its offering to mission outside of the church, whether it is local, around the country, or around the world. During our worship this coming Sunday we will be giving a quarter of our offering to support disaster relief in Japan.
For more information on how the United Church of Christ is involved in Japan and to donate toward the work of disaster relief visit http://www.ucc.org/disaster/japan-earthquake-2011/
Blessings and peace,
Posted by Chris under Service