by Rev. Dorothy Crockett, SCNC, UCC
At Affirming God’s People, UCC, in Las Vegas, NV, Pastor Jamie Sprague-Ballou knows how to get results when her small congregation stirs their kitchen pots.
Each Sunday about 15 to 20 members gather to worship at 12:30 p.m. After worship, the congregation serves a meal and enjoys fellowship. During this COVID-19 crisis, they are eating outside, with tables and spaces safely six feet apart.
Pastor Jamie said, “Our congregation is called to feed our marginalized people. Here, that includes both homeless and transgender people. Jamie said, “Affirming God’s People Church hopes to help shape people’s lives. “When we’re cooking, we just keep serving. We don’t look to see how much is in the pot. We just keep acting! There’s always enough!”
Formerly, funds for their Outreach Program came from a Grant. Now, these monies are gone.
Presently, while some members are unable to tithe, other members can and do. Their contributions allow the church’s mission to continue.
Plans to create a “Christmas in July,” fund-raiser were cancelled due to the COVID-19. However, they are hopeful they can still hold their “GAZE into the Holidays,” fund-raiser in December.
To add to the kitchen’s pot, Pastor Jamie weekly participates in the Food Harvesting Program. She goes to three restaurants and with these donations, she separates the food. She puts a protein dish and two side-dishes in separate container and then puts these in the church’s freezers.
Pastor Jamie said, “With COVID-19, the Food Banks, public restrooms, and showers were shut down. The homeless were unable to get a drink of water, like at a 7-11 store.” When they eat at the church, they get a hot meal or sandwiches with potato or macaroni salad. They receive water with fresh lemons added to it.
On Wednesdays, the local Episcopal Church feeds these people. On Saturday, the congregation takes a Sabbath. With the exception of these two days, Pastor Jaime and her small congregation will keep stirring their kitchen’s pot, every day. “There’s always enough.”
While feeding their people and reaching out to their community, this small church is serving a BIG helping of hope - hope in humanity.