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Monday, July 7, 2014

Pastorgraphs: "Operation Welcome Bus"

E-Vangel Newsletter
July 7, 2014

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center

“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205
Pastorgraphs: "Operation Welcome Bus"
When asked about a new model for urban ministry, I recently said urban ministry “has to be more than just keeping the doors open. It must involve following Christ’s example and getting your hands dirty in meeting the spiritual and physical needs of the poor.” The smallest act is better than the greatest intention or eloquent sermon.

The time has come to “put up or shut up”. I’ve spoken a lot in recent days regarding the humanitarian crisis that found its way to our front door. But unless we get our hands dirty in meeting the spiritual and physical needs of the poor at our doorstep, it’s all just cheap talk.

I will devote a significant amount of time for the foreseeable future seeking how Christ Ministry Center can mobilize resources to help the mothers and children from Central America while they await their immigration court appointments. I’m calling it “Operation Welcome Bus”. I welcome your help.

You know I name everything, even the rooms in the building. We named our relief efforts “Operation Baby Buggy” in 2005 when we sent an 18-wheeler full of diapers and baby supplies for the most vulnerable victims of Hurricane Katrina.

You probably already see why I call this “Operation Welcome Bus”. I want it to stand in contrast to the reception these women and children received in Murietta. I want them to know many of us care for them and their needs.

So here is how we can all help.

First, there is a need for the basics. Many of the refugees came with little more than the clothes on their backs. They need food, clothes, toiletries and the likes. The children may find comfort in toys as they face an uncertain future. If you want to donate clothing for young mothers, diapers or age level clothes for babies, toddlers, children or early teens, you may drop them off at Christ Ministry Center. I will coordinate with volunteers to sort and distribute your donations to such agencies as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Border Angels or Catholic Charities to get them where they are most needed.

Secondly, I recently identified some space that may easily serve as temporary housing for a couple families. We did this for the Haitian asylees, and we can do it again. We may need bedding and small furnishings to create a temporary homelike environment. 

Thirdly, we need volunteers. We are so fortunate to have several Hispanic congregations at Christ Ministry Center. I have asked Jonathan Reyes, lay pastor  of our Methodist congregation to help locate interpreters from the Hispanic congregations.

Finally, money will help too. I vow that 100% of any money donated to Operation Welcome Bus will go to help our sisters and brothers from Central America. We will not take out any administrative costs.

Here is where you can drop off or mail your donations:

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
3295 Meade Ave (corner of 33rd and Meade – Normal Heights)
San Diego CA 92116
(619) 284-9205 office (619) 723-1371 mobile
Jeannetta Kramer, Office Manager
Hours: 8:00-11:00 AM, Noon to 3:30 PM

I will keep you posted on what we need as “Operation Welcome Bus” gets rolling.

My favorite New Testament commentator is the late Dr. William Barclay. He tells the story of Martin of Tours. Martin was a Roman soldier and a Christian. “One cold winter day, as he was entering a city, a beggar stopped him and asked for alms. Martin had no money; but the beggar was blue and shivering with cold, and Martin gave what he had. He took off his soldier's coat, worn and frayed as it was; he cut it in two and gave half of it to the beggar man. That night he had a dream. In it he saw the heavenly places and all the angels and Jesus in the midst of them; and Jesus was wearing half of a Roman soldier's cloak. One of the angels said to him, ‘Master, why are you wearing that battered old cloak? Who gave it to you?’ And Jesus answered softly, ‘My servant Martin gave it to me.’”

Dr. Barclay concluded: “When we learn the generosity which without calculation helps men in the simplest things, we too will know the joy of helping Jesus Christ himself.”

It’s what Jesus would do if he were here. And when we do it in his name, he IS here!

Devotedly yours, Bill Jenkins 

From The Quote Garden:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
~ Emma Lazarus ~

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