Church of the Holy Apostles

Talked to Phil Groves who is happy with me blogging through Indaba for the most part. This morning we went to the Church of the Holy Apostles and a feeding program/soup kitchen staffed by 200 volunteers, 50 - 70 on hand a day. This church was established in 1847 and the soup kitchen was born in 1982. This is a fully inclusive church with a ministry to gay, lesbian and transgender people. It is staffed by volunteers from across faiths. I ate with hundreds of guests who had queued up for food, served so efficiently on plastic trays. This compared to your average British motorway service station but the food and the scenery was better.

I spoke with a woman who had walked a few blocks and worked selling newspapers. She shared with me her story about the stressful pace of New York life, the living in fear of illness in a state that does not provide medical care. I spoke to her about the NHS.

We wondered if the lack of care offered centrally accounted for the culture of volunteerism that is so alive and kicking in NY, in comparison to the UK.

I spoke to a Parisian volunteer with a beautiful accent who shared with me that this was her calling on becoming retired.

Church of the Holy Apostles is famous in NY for its social justice progam and its inclusivity.

On the way out a guy in the queue asked for prayer and Tom, one of the priests we are with, put a hand on this man's head to pray for him. It was one of those snap-shots I will store in my brain.

Where ever we go, people speak with us, we are perhaps a bit of a spectacle purple shirts and dog-collars are quite easy to spot. We have been taking group photos and trying to speak with people on the subway. The weather has been beautiful and so we have been walking for the most part.

I am drinking iced latte in Starbucks at the moment (2:30pm/5:30 UK) and waiting to go and have dinner at St John of the Divine. We will have a service there tonight.

We walked the high line on the way here and saw the Statue of Liberty in the background and the Empire State building before that. It all feels rather awesome, from the sound of the traffic to the conversations I am engaged in. I have had some interesting walks and talks about Issues in Human Sexuality with a delegate from the Indian team and we have been comparing the church cultures that we understand.

I love the buzz of New York - so many interesting people, so many iconic things to see. Okay, I'll blog again. Bye for now.


Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Volunteering is always second best to provision. The and most stable and prosperous societies are the Scandinavian, who have a private economy but comprehensive social provision. If you don't you end up with losers and violence.

Rach said...

Much I resonate with her but uneasy about the language of 'losers and violence,' which might need some unpacking.

The church I visited today was so inspiring for its missional inclusivity - I wonder at God's Kingdom and how much more inclusive it is than we make it. As I suspected my eyes,my eyes are being opened to the beauty and the tragedy of all the variety around me. I wonder what and whether there are any non-negotiables.The language I heard today had a common refrain - "hospitality"- I wonder what definitions of hospitality people are bringing to the table.


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