The Fellowwship Breakfast that debuted on the Rally Sunday (September 13th) has been a huge success thanks to Ginny and Larry Hjalmarson, Ray Scrugg, Stan Harris and a slew of other volunteers. It is a wonderful way to begin the day set aside for communion with God. The food is tasty and nutritious. Sitting down and take time to connect with each other, members and non-members, is precious. A few of the people of our city who do not have regular shelter and meal source have been our guests. We hope to fellowship with as many of them as time goes by and the word of our ‘radical hospitality’ gets out. As Larry emphasized more than once it is not just about providing food to those who need it but about building relationship with our neighbor. We need each other if we want to free ourselves from the narrow confiens of our own limited world. We might not have the answer to the issue of homelessness but we can have realtionship with those who live that reality daily; we can learn to walk with them. Community is a gift yet needs intentional reaching out and taking in. Our diverse congregation is a wonderful example of that.
I came across an intriguing article in The Atlantic regarding the pattern of racial interactions in America around this time last year. The nation was embroiled in the controversy resulting from the deaths of African Americans in the hands of law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri and other cities. The article quotes the Public Religion Research Institute’s 2013 American Values Survey which included an intersting study of the social network patterns among different races. Drawing on techniques from social network analysis, it asked respondents to identify as many as seven people with whom they had discussed important matters in the six months prior to the survey. The result was not surprising but revealing.
According to the survey, White American social networks are 91 percent white, with one percent black, one percent Hispanic, one percent Asian or Pacific Islander, one percent mixed race, and one percent other race. Balck American social networks are 83 percent black, while 64 percent of Hispanic American social networks are Hispanic. Indeed 75 percent of whites have entirely white social networks while 65 of Blacks Americans and 46 percent of Hispanic Americans reported having the social networks comprised exclusively of their own races. The main point of article in The Atlantic was that this phenomenon—the paucity of social interaction across racial divides—explains in part the large discrepancy among different races/ethnic groups in perceptions on important social issues. *
Let us be grateful for the gift of the FUMC community. Let us be deligent in reaching out to each other, getting to know each others’ stories, their joys, struggles and hopes. Let our cricle of freindship and unconditional love get wider and wider still. On October 4th we will celebrate World Communion Sunday. Remember the 8:30 Fellowship Breakfast. Invite your friends to come and see what’s cooking in God’s holy name.