Innovative Ministry Spotlight
Earlier this summer, the Bilingual Ministry of St. Luke's UMC/Gethsemane Campus began taking their gospel to the street -- literally. "We are having picnic Bible classes," says Local Pastor Mireya Ottaviano Diaz. "On Thursdays, from 10:30 -11:45 a.m. we serve lunch outside of our church. We set God's table, and invite people to come to have food in a Christian environment. Homeless people, neighbors, visitors, and those walking by are welcome to participate. We think this is one way to start a relationship with them, and we are eager to answer their questions about who we are, what programs we have and activities the church offers."
The group averages 20-25, including a dozen church members and often as many guests. Since it is quite hot outside, group members dress casually to make others feel comfortable, and serve cold lemonade and food until it runs out. "We often have a father and son who are homeless and living in their car come by our lunch and we even feed their two dogs," she adds. "Calling everyone by name is important to us, and many are beginning to realize we are their friends. They may not feel comfortable coming on a Sunday yet, but we have Christian conversation on Thursdays outside and assure them that our campus is a safe place." Adds Mireya, "Love and care are the best ingredients in those lunches."