Three Encouraging 6:8 Stories
Annual Leadership Luncheon
Every year Ardmore Initiative (one of our community group partners) hosts the Leadership Luncheon. An event in which about 200 leaders from the area attend; business, government, non-profit, religious, etc. Six:Eight was chosen to receive the 2012 Shining Star Award for 'creating a more vibrant and unified community through volunteerism and support' at this years luncheon. As they called Pastor Jason up to receive the award, the chairman of the board said, "You might not know them, but you've seen them around". Then he proceeded to read the following:
"Six:Eight Community Church is a local Ardmore church affiliated with VineyardUSA. They invite the curious, disillusioned, skeptic, and anyone on a journey of faith to worship with them. Their name is based on the verse, Micah 6:8, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." From that, they take their purpose, vision, and mission which are to follow Jesus, to live as Jesus did, and to be the hands, feet and voice of Jesus in the Ardmore/Havertown area and beyond. Six:Eight seeks to be a blessing by engaging in the initiatives already established by others in the community; to show up and simply say, "How can we help?" This has proven to be a good challenge for those at Six:Eight as well, and a great lesson about selfless service. Everyone at Six:Eight is thoroughly enjoying the relationships that have developed as they work with the many people and community members they have gotten to know through organizations such as the Ardmore Initiative, Friends of Linwood Park, PALM, Clover Market, the Ardmore Food Pantry, the YMCA, First Friday Main Line, South Ardmore Betterment Association and others.
Todd Hall, who attended the event, said it well when referencing the moment, "Here's the fruit of our labor, labor that had often seemed too insignificant or without purpose. I was almost moved to tears and so proud to be a part of Six:Eight." Janet Long, the originator/coordinator of Clover Market, commented as well, "A very well deserved award for a wonderful, caring group of people! Congratulations!!!" And Kate Gelar of Linwood Park said, "6:8 has been so awesome! Even though I know you don't do it for the recognition, you deserve it!" It is nice to know she sees the 'why' behind what we do as not getting recognition, but something much deeper and profound.
To see the video of the event click here, and the article, click here. Six:Eight, be proud, God has used you in great ways and will continue to do so - when we submit, commit, and carry out the kingdom before us, we will see God work!
This past week Shalom in the Home, a 6:8 Community Group, was able to have a potluck to meet and hear from Kate & Chris - their community partners who oversee Linwood Park. Chris & Kate spearheaded the Linwood Park project on Linwood Ave. Chris is the Assistant Director of building and planning in Lower Merion. Listening their heart, it struck me that much of what they want, we want - they're filled with godly passions. They're in love with plant, animal, and insect life; they want to foster a healthy park environment. They want newness, safety, care, and life to flourish in their park & community. They want the park to be a place in which healing, reconciliation, and socio-economic/racial lines are crossed; community. They created the park for life and people! Sounds like the heart of God to me!
During the evening, they shared how they have appreciated Six:Eights heart to bless and come behind the park. They expressed the desire to hang out more. Chris even offered to lead a hike along a local trail just made in the past few years - a personal guide for the day just for Six:Eighters! They shared how some people from Shalom in the Home dropped off food at the King's home, a family in the neighborhood of the park who recently lost their 14 year old son, which was overwhelmingly encouraging to the family. The mother told Kate, "They don't even know us and they dropped off food!". And we plan on attending the tree planting in honor of their son in the near future.
We ended the evening by asking to pray for Chris & Kate. We did. Chris' response: "I've been to a lot of community meetings, but I've never left any of them this encouraged."
PALM - Positive Aging in Lower Merion
This past Saturday Six:Eighters walked into PALM to find familiar faces, welcoming smiles, and everyone dressed in green for St. Patty's day. Six:Eighters are getting to know, and being known by the seniors there. Bev, the director of Palm, shared with us how her faith impacts her role, which keeps her humble and positive. She spoke of the blessing Six:Eight has been, and how we've stuck to our commitment and how the seniors look forward to every 3rd Saturday with Six:Eight. She sees a Christ-like humility in Six:Eighters, and resonates with our vision. Serving and ministering to people makes her come back every day as well…and, being 72, she could have long since chosen to retire.
During the day, one Six:Eighter made a generous offer to pay for a number of seniors to attend the April awards luncheon. Something many of the seniors want, but cannot afford on a fixed retirement income. Agnes and Sue were invited, we thought two would definitely stretch this donors generosity, but, "No" (the donor said) "I was thinking more than two!" We were able to invite Tara, Rose, Isabelle & her granddaughter as well. Faces lit up. Surprise, gratitude, excitement, and joy were expressed, someone cares to invite and want them there? Amazing.
Bev also informed us that Bert, an elderly woman, was in the hospital – we visited after Bingo. A friendly welcome, small talk, and introductions were made with her sister Charlotte, and a niece, who also came to visit. Bert informed them we were from a church in Ardmore. Upon hearing the name, they asked us to recite Micah 6:8. The credibility and respect afforded us by these women at that moment (Bert's niece especially, a minister herself) was very encouraging. They asked if we would pray before leaving. They stood, we joined hands around the bed, and together prayed for, and with, these women. Ages & races, all united, with God very present; a true kingdom moment! Encouraging, not only to them, but to us…we received as much, if not more, than we gave in the moment. A small glimpse of healing and trust being built across Ardmore churches, as well as, economic, and racial lines…hope. Bert ended the time praying and thanking God for these 'family & friends', but stopped herself and added, "No, we're all family". Amen...a good Kingdom Day!