In January, the confirmation class went down to Philadelphia to visit "The Welcome Church", also known as "The Church Without Walls". The Welcome Church is a congregation led by Rev. Violet Little that ministers specifically to those who are experiencing hunger. The community gathers in various places, including in a park near the Franklin Institute for worship a couple Sundays each month.
As part of worship, The Welcome Church invites congregations to provide food for fellowship. Often, one congregation brings food and drinks to be shared right there, and another congregation brings food that people can take with them to snack on later when they're hungry. With the help of our congregation, we took about 8 grocery bags of snacks with us to share with the community, ranging from fruit and granola bars to small bottles of nutritious drinks and homemade desserts.
One of the things we wanted to make sure the youth understood was that we were not visiting this congregation simply to serve it. Anyone who comes to The Welcome Church is part of The Welcome Church for that day. That means we weren't just there to share food with hungry people; we were there to share fellowship with our sisters and brothers in Christ. Each youth was encouraged to try having a real conversation with someone they didn't know, letting them know we aren't just there to make ourselves feel good about helping someone in need, but we are there to share God's love with fellow children of God.
The visit to the Welcome Church was definitely an experience for the youth. Some felt scared, others were nervous, and others came away surprised. They were amazed at the welcome the community gave us.
We'd like to thank Rev. Violet Little and everyone at the Welcome Church for opening their congregation to us.