September 30, 2010

A Day in the Community

One thing I am learning about ministry in Bixby Knolls:  it's good to be involved in the community.  Unfortunately, making connections with the community isn't something I learned in seminary.  I'm not even sure it's something that can be learned in seminary, which means it's "learn as you go."

My day yesterday began early at It's a Grind, a coffee shop "born and raised in Long Beach" (as it says on the door).  I placed my reusable mug on the counter and ordered a green tea.  They like it when I bring my own mug, although they're not always sure what size it should be rung up as.  Today I lucked out:  I was charged for a small.

I settled into a chair and began reading a book by Diana Butler Bass, which I bought after hearing her speak last week in San Diego.  I also re-read parts of a book on Tithing by Douglas LeBlanc that I thought might be useful for an upcoming sermon.  Thanks to my Kindle, I can carry many books at once with ease.

At one point, I heard a voice say "Good morning."  I looked up, saw Blair Cohn (who runs the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association), and returned the greeting.  My church's boy scout troop has worked with Blair and the BKBIA on several occasions when scouts have organized Eagle service projects that involved landscaping public space in the community.

At 9:15 I left It's a Grind, hopped on my bike and rode down to Staples to purchase some church supplies.  then I headed back to Bixby Towers to visit a church member.  Following that, I rode around the corner to the boy scout council office, to talk with one of the district executives, Marc Bonner, about placing an ad in the program book for the South Coast Interfaith Council benefit concert and unity dinner.  The council wants more boys to become scouts, and also wants to promote itself as an interfaith organization, while SCIC promotes peace and understanding among different faiths; as an SCIC board member as well as a registered scouter, connecting the two organizations seemed natural.

Leaving the council office, I rode one block to Bella Cosa, one of my favorite stores in town, to see if they would like to donate an item to the silent auction that will take place at the SCIC Unity Dinner.  Unfortunately they had to decline, but I did get to meet and have a nice conversation with Christy, the owner, which I enjoyed.

Walking out of Bella Cosa, my stomach told me it was time for lunch, so I stopped at Georgie's Place for a gyro before heading to church.

On Friday, I'll be back on Atlantic Avenue, this time at Averyboo Arts.  Natalie, the owner, has again invited Troop 29 to sell popcorn outside during First Fridays.  This time, in addition to selling popcorn, I'm going to show some slides highlighting the various service projects Troop 29 has done in Bixby Knolls.

Being the introvert that I am, I don't know how I ever managed to begin making these types of connections; and I say "begin" because I expect that these connections will grow stronger and more numerous in the future.  I'm not a social person, and am surprised at how much I am enjoying making these connections.

I don't know how I've made these connections, but I do know why.  As a pastor of a church taht identifies itself as "a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world," I recognize that the world begins in one's own community, and strong connections and relationships help bring wholeness to that community.  As an introverted person in an introverted church, it would be very easy to remain isolated from those around me.  But without connections and relationships, none of us are whole.


robert james said...

I was wondering where you picked up your church Supplies

Anonymous said...

i always wonder why they charge different prices for small & large tea... you still only get one tea bag. it's like charging for water.

christine t.