June 2021: From The Minister’s Coffee Pot
Coffee mornings used to be the stuff of legends when I was first here. Virtually every week there was one either run by us or various organisations. They were fund raising exercises but also a time of people being together. If it was for the Samaritans and Betty Easy had organised it, it could be a very large operation; she was one of the best fund raisers I have ever known. Well I am thinking of having Coffee mornings back for a while and with purpose but not to raise funds on a grand scale but for something else. We will need help but I will explain more in a moment.
Paul recommended practise hospitality.. Hebrews 13:2 ‘Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares’. It’s always struck me as unnecessary to say the last part of the verse. It’s very Sunday school - It could be a test but its worth doing anyway. I would hope we do it because everyone should be treated well. There are some 30 references to the characteristic in the bible front and back. Some show people being really kind; others show it was not the first thought in peoples minds.
It is a Christian principle and over the years we have realised that other faiths are as keen on the idea. After Grenfell Tower was destroyed, the Sikh community set to providing hundreds of meals for those left homeless or traumatised in the area. Such kindness and the way it was organised and given with grace was not forgotten.
Anyone can put coffee on the table and have a room full even in a Town that has more coffee shops than you would believe, and another has just opened. I am thinking of a specific project that will probably not last forever but may last for a while. A lot of people have been on their own for a long time in this year. They may be single, it might be a couple, it may be a few people who live in flats. For them the idea of going out and having any sort of conversation with others feels terrifying. I think there is a way round this. Coffee (or tea) brought to the table and one of us - a host) on each table. When you have people gathered (and we will find a way of not having singles dotted around alone ). Then the hosts ask a simple question that everyone can give an answer to. Favourite colour. What do you have in that colour – tell your friend.......(the person sitting next to you). When two of these questions have broken the ice. Perhaps ask about something what impressed them in lockdown. Keeping things upbeat will help people feel able to share and there will be space if people want to talk about other things.
No religion, no politics, just finding a voice. If people just want to listen that is fine. Practise hospitality. There are an awful lot of people in this town who hardly speak or have anything to say. I think it would be good to find out what angels have to say!
Tell me or the Stewards if you would like to help. We can give a welcome to those who have suffered in silence.