…Give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful; and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to thy service…
We serve each other, not just at the altar, but in a hundred other ways as well, including hunting down the right flowers for Sunday, sewing a special altar cloth, making soup, washing tables, dragging pews into place, copying the bulletin, turning pages for the organist, leading a study group, taking out the garbage, sharing a ride, keeping the books, staying behind for the vestry meeting….
It would be easy, living counter to our culture as we do, to keep to ourselves.
But that isn’t what Christ asked us to do, not by His teachings nor by His example.
One of the ways we answer Christ’s call to serve others is by giving money to those best positioned to help them. We have given to build a school for Dalit children in India, to provide disaster relief in the Philippines, and to start a chicken farm in Haiti. We have supported efforts by our larger church to train priests and deacons to carry the word of God to a hurting world. We give to the Gideons’ effort to share Bibles. We give to Village of Hope in Uganda where children abducted and orphaned during the war are kept safe, fed and cared for.
Still, writing checks wasn’t doing, so we sat down together and asked the Holy Spirit how we could work together on a Sunday afternoon to serve our neighbors. Given the long room, the tables pushed end to end, and the many willing hands, what made sense was an assembly line. We had for a time packed lunches for NCompass to deliver to Portland’s homeless so we looked for similar opportunities.
Today, our “assembly line ministries” (ALMS for short) packs food.
We purchase and repack big sacks of rice and beans into smaller family sized portions for the Jubilee Food Pantry in Hubbard, Oregon. We help with the OneMeal program, purchasing and packing food for Kids Around The World.
While finishing his training to become a priest, Fr. Vince began visiting the Clackamas County Jail to pray with inmates. Several men from St. Michael’s now take turns offering a Morning Prayer service on Saturday afternoon.
Because jail regulations prohibit books with hard covers, Fr. Dan reformatted the prayer book so we could print and supply our own soft-bound version of the 1928 Book of Common prayer for jail inmates to use. This print-on-demand version, “Morning & Evening Prayer” is available online.