In February 2014, five people from Mountain View UMC in Cottonwood, Arizona dedicated themselves to The Gathering. An hour on Sunday mornings from 9-10 AM at the Old Town Mission, this gathering is for those who are homeless, struggling to be part of society, and those who have had bad experiences with the organized church. Coffee and donuts are served, while we have a Jesus talk.
The first Sunday no one came. A chaplain told us to be consistent, stay open, until people learned to trust that we would be there. The next Sunday a few came. Now we have anywhere from 4-20. Some come once, others more steady.
Christianity teaches that everyone broken, sick, homeless, lonely— everyone beneath our notice or beneath our contempt is somehow Christ among us. “He is disguised under every type of humanity that treads the earth.” Dorothy Day.
We share with the homeless, addicts, alcoholics, mental issues, sick, and those cast out of society. We do not judge them; they receive enough of that. We are there to listen, share, and love. Love is Holy because it is like grace, the worthiness of its object is never what really matters.
Love is shown by giving blankets, tents, sleeping bags and bicycles. We go to court with them, visit them in jail, check on them through major illness, provide transportation and, above all, listen when they are ready to share.
Sometimes we cry and agonize over setbacks, but also rejoice when they find shelter, or a job.
Any of you can visit us on a Sunday from 9-10 AM. “All you need is love, but a little chocolate never hurts now and then.” Charles Schultz
Thank you to Jim Kreunen, Louise Cordova, Carol Quasula, Jim Bachus and Sharon Joseph for sharing of their times and talents to the community of Cottonwood, Arizona.