Garden Grove CC does hospitality very well. This congregation has a high percentage of members that are from or have Samoan heritage and we felt like a part of the joy, care and welcome of that island family while enjoying the worship, workshops, food and fellowship at the assembly in October 2014. Did you know that the 3 main parts in the Samoan culture are faith, family and music? Well it certainly shows when you visit the Garden Grove CC.
As I mentioned above the theme used most was on hospitality. Of the three workshops I attended 1 centered around that subject. It was on when hospitality is extended then abused by the visitor and how to still be a welcoming person and church. The other 2 were on new ways to do church and worship resources. The biggest thing I learned on the hospitality workshop is that when someone relies so long on another’s hospitality and kindness a change has to happen because how then can hospitality be there for others? The other two had ideas on emergent worship (new kinds of worship in the community) and ideas on worship resources and format.
Another part of the assembly had to do with the collection of shoes. Remember how we’ve been collecting shoes like we do other items for the Unity Shoppe? We took a box of shoes that you all had donated. Some churches donated more some less. There are several great shoe stories one thing we heard as people were actively seeking shoes for donations that visiting yard sales when asked if the seller would be willing to donate their shoes instead the yard sellers gave all they had. Some had shoes coming from friends and family in other states. Most of the stories were of how they had no idea how big it would grow once the word got out. 2 stories were of those with a lot of shoes found someone who needed shoes that happened to hear of what they were doing and were given new shoes. One was a man who just got a new job and didn’t have the required work boots – the church had just received a donation that day and there were a pair of steel toed boots in his size – which he received. The assembly had a large extra long semi truck sized container to fill. By the end of the Assembly they had over 20,000 pairs of shoes received – once we hear of a final account I’ll be happy to share it with everyone. Many hoped to do this again.
Finally regarding the resolutions – they were mostly regarding getting a sense of the assembly on encouraging congregations around the region in outreach projects they can get involved in or encourage to start new projects involving the prison system, those who have fulfilled their obligations and may need help in the community or to work at helping at risk preventing having to be incarcerated. The votes were in majority for both resolutions.
Thank you for sending and supporting Nancy and I to go this regional assembly event. We had a good time learned much and it was grand meeting friends across the region and making new friends.
Peace, Lynda Bell