Tubs, Suds, and Glory

By: Alan Mackie

Last month I was having breakfast with Chad and my pastor, George Tatro of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church. Over the grits, Chad reminded us of a conversation that we had had some months previously about Memorial Drive washing the clothes for the members of Mercy. IMG_2514

As the need had become quite urgent, the solution was seemingly straightforward. I rather boldly committed Memorial Drive to doing the washing twice a month, starting within the week.

And so our laundry ministry was born. Chad delivered nine large bags of dirty laundry to Memorial Drive.  In committing our new endeavour to God, a bag of the dirty laundry was brought into the sanctuary and dedicated as a part of our weekly offering in our Sunday service. By Wednesday, I had three other volunteers to join me at the Medlock coin wash to sort, wash, dry, and fold.  We had fun and fellowship with each other, so much so that some of the other patrons became curious to know what we were up to.

At the end of the first evening, before leaving the laundry, we stood, held hands and said the grace together. Then one of our number pointed to the ceiling and said, “To God be the Glory”. It made me think: can the simple and practical task of washing dirty clothes be described as “glorious?” I don’t know for sure, but I believe that in God’s hands it can. And God will be glorified, if doing the laundry softens our hearts and makes us more loving towards those who live on the hard edges of society. As the laundry ministry gets underway, I believe God has much to teach us amidst the  “tubs and suds.”

The other week, we read together the late Lynda Baker’s homeless psalm and considered our own struggles and connivance with the ‘System’ that could not break Lynda.

We like to think of the laundry as a ministry, because it sets it apart from our routine chores and helps us to be mindful that we are doing the washing in simple obedience of Christ’s injunctions to love our neighbour and make sure that “the naked are clothed.” We even have a short reflection on Scripture, sitting there on the benches in the coin wash while the washing cycle is underway.

I am also delighted to say that friends from North Decatur Presbyterian Church are joining our laundry ministry and a local mosque is committed to donating clothes. We all believe, you see, that the God of Abraham is a God of promises and God is working through all God’s children.

Emergency Cold Weather Shelter Today and Sunday

Dear Friends,

We have been able to bring some of our sisters and brothers into the warmth of our sanctuaries 11 out of 17 nights since the beginning of December. St. John’s Lutheran Churchhas provided overnight hospitality since the beginning, and we are overjoyed to announce that Druid Hills United Methodist Church opened their doors to provide additional space for women on these coldest nights.  Our work of providing a shelter from the cold during the early evening and morning hours in our home at Druid Hills Presbyterian Church, in addition to our normal hours of operation, has also continued. This past week our dear friends at the Open Door Community were able to keep even more of our sisters and brothers out of the coldest of the cold.  We give thanks for all of you who have responded and offered prayers, as well as personal and material support, to help in this life-saving work.

The Shelters Will Be Open Today and Sunday
We will open our doors at Mercy beginning at 7 pm tonight to welcome folks out of the cold and warm bodies and souls with hot grits and coffee and copious love, before heading off to the shelters for overnight.  We will do the same on Sunday night. We will also be at Mercy early Sunday and Monday, beginning at 7 am both days.

How You Can Help
There are lots of ways to get involved with us over the next few days and throughout this surprisingly cold season, and there is no more holy way to keep Advent and Christmas than making room for those for whom the world has none. Here are some specific opportunities:

Volunteers

Evening Host: Help one of our pastoral leaders welcome our sisters and brothers from 7 pm to 8.30 pm on the eveningswe are open.  We need help with brewing the coffee, cooking and serving grits, getting emergency items for folks, such as clothing or medicine.Morning Host: Just as in the evening, help one of our pastoral leaders welcome our sisters and brothers from 7 am to 9 am on the mornings we are open.  We will need more help with brewing the coffee, cooking and serving grits, getting emergency items for folks, such as clothing or medicine.

Women’s Overnight Host: We still need overnight volunteers for the Women’s Cold Weather Ministry at DHUMC.  See Pastor Katie for more details.

Supplies
We are going through lots of our basics because of the great need; we can always use any of these things.

Food Items
Coffee
Butter
Grits
Creamer
Sugar
Meat for Soups
Clothing Items
Blankets
Gloves
Socks
Skull Caps
Warm Clothing

If you have questions or would like to schedule a time to volunteer or drop off donations, contact me by e-mail or phone.  And, of course, please continue your faithful prayers for our work and community, for a world where all of God’s children have safe and affordable housing.  For the many ways each of you contribute to what we do together, sharing your hearts and your lives, we give thanks to God.

Peace and Warm Shelter This Season,

Chad

We need you!

Dear Friends,

We need you! At its heart, Mercy is a call–an invitation to gather the people of God together for worship, work, and community as all of us seek to faithfully follow Jesus our Liberator.  You are an important part of what we do.  You are a part of the gathering together of all God’s people–regardless of the distinctions of wealth or race, gender or tradition.

An Advent Opportunity: Emergency Freeze Shelter
As Advent begins, so does the Emergency Freeze Shelter that Mercy co-ordinates in partnership with St. John’s Lutheran Church.  Last year, we began this joint project of shelter in January and were able to keep our neighbors out of the worst of the cold for 40 nights.

What We Need
This is a great need and a great opportunity.  In addition to overnight shelter at St. John’s we open our doors at Mercy for extended hours to keep folks out of the cold, in the mornings and evenings, to brew hot coffee and serve hot grits.  The pastoral staff of Mercy will be rotating leadership on these nights and mornings, in addition to keeping our normal schedule.  Your willingness to come out and help us host our neighbors in the warmth we can give will help all of us not to grow weary in the good work of hospitality and justice.

How You Can Help

Become a Host! Being a host just means helping us to share hospitality on these cold nights and mornings by helping the pastor in charge to welcome folks in, get coffee and/or boiling water going for the grits, and help attend to any emergency needs such as clothing, hygiene items, or medicine from our office for those in need.  Each evening and each morning we are open for extended hours we will need at least one host to help us in our work.

EXTENDED SCHEDULE for EMERGENCY WINTER DAYS

Evening Hours: 7 pm until 8.45 pm (at Mercy)
Morning Hours: 7 am until 9.45 am (at Mercy)

The most important time for help will be in the evenings. We will only be open on the nights and the following morning that the Emergency Freeze Shelter is open.

UPCOMING EMERGENCY HOURS:
We will begin the Shelter this Wednesday Night, December 1 (which is a normal worship night for us).  We will need help for the following days and times:

Thursday, 12/2:
Morning: 7 am until 9 am
Evening: 7 pm until 8.45 pm
Friday, 12/3:

Morning: 7 am until 9 am
Evening: 7 pm until 8.45 pm
Tuesday, 12/7:

Evening: 7 pm until 8.45 pm

Wednesday, 12/8:

Morning: 7 am until 9 am

Thank you for all of your help and love and prayers and support.  You are such an important part of our work, and we give God thanks for you.

If you want to sign up or if you have any more questions, e-mail Chad at mercy@mercyonline.net.

Peace,

Chad, Katie, Craig, Maggie, and Claudia and the Mercy Family

Urgent Needs at Mercy

I’m posting this to let you know about urgent needs we have at Mercy. I’ll be short and sweet!

NUMBER ONE: More Volunteer Help!
We serve a lot of people each and every day we are open. Summer always means fewer numbers coming to us (as compared to the harsh winter months). But the crowds are still pretty big. We have a great core of volunteers that make our day to day work happen. Without them, we could not do all the things that we do on a shoe-string budget. But we really need more people who are willing to come in and volunteer a few hours each week. We especially need women and men who can help us host: welcoming, helping take in donations, assisting our brothers and sisters with various needs, such as finding clothing or getting medicine or hygiene items, and just being present inside or outside to help keep our community a peaceful and friendly place. We need at least one additional person in this role on Monday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. Please look at your schedule to see if you are able to commit any extra time to help us out. Here are our daily hours.

NUMBER TWO: Wednesday Night Meal Preparation!
We are blessed to have a wonderful meal prepared for us the last Wednesday of every month. Not only is the food delicious, but the willingness of others to help takes a huge burden off our day to day volunteers. We have food. We need someone to cook it! We’re looking for someone (or a group of someone’s!) to come in and take the responsibility of preparing a meal for 60 to 80 people each Wednesday (or one Wednesday out of a month). This would be ideal for youth groups or other small groups in a church or seminary community. It would also be ideal for someone who likes to cook and isn’t terrified of big crowds. We would even be happy to have a regular spaghetti dinner each Wednesday. Again, what we need is a cook. We open at 4 pm and serve at 6 every Wednesday.

NUMBER THREE: Soap (and other hygiene items, too)!
We have a lot of needs, including clothes. But there is nothing we need at the moment as much as soap. We are constantly being asked for it, but we have simply run out. We could also use toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, socks, tee shirts, and jeans. Perhaps you could get a few extra bars next time you go shopping. Or maybe you have a stash from traveling. Or maybe you would like to tell your friends at work or school and organize a mini-soap drive. Did I mention we need SOAP?

Questions? Please ask. You can do more than you think. We can coach you and a group of friends through everything you might need to do. We provide great on-the-job training, too! If you would like to check out our website and look at our schedule, it’s http://www.mercyonline.net.

Please pass this e-mail along to friends and family who might be able to help out in some way, too! Thanks.

Peace,

Chad Hyatt
Pastor
Mercy Community Church | Iglesia Comunidad Misericordia
404.803.5075