Tonight the Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Coaldale hosted a banquet and invited representatives from all the churches to come. Last year they gave lovely gifts to all the pastors and this year they decided to expand their gift to lay leaders in the congregations too. So I went with one of our lay readers who is also the head of our hospitality team.
It was a delightful evening. They had a delicious meal catered and members of their church, all dressed in black slacks and white shirts, served it to us. Helen and I sat with six people from the United Church in town and we had a great time. The conversation was really interesting and they had a pianist and violinist playing while we ate.
After dinner they handed out gift certificates to folks and then prayed for the town and a member of one of the congregations who is in the ICU. And then we went home.
There were a couple of things that really stood out for me about the evening. There is a church in town that has never participated in anything in my ten years in Coaldale and folks from that church were there tonight. The folks at Abundant Life have brought us together in a way we've never been together before. So often those of us in 'mainline' churches talk about ecumenism but then have a hard time getting together with anyone who is really different from us. Yet this church actually lives a generosity of spirit that is inspiring. The other thing that really stood out for me was the warmth of their hospitality. We don't often talk about the virtue of hospitality but it must be one of the most important of the Christian virtues.