“Where is Your Church?

Is it the one at the corner of Olive and Prast?”

The question took me by surprise, coming as it did from a staff member at the rehab. facility—way on the other side of town—where I was visiting one of our parishioners. The woman had been coming up the hallway down which Pat and I were making our slow and careful way. Fixing me with an intense stare, she crossed to our side of the hallway and presented her question. Swallowing my shock, I nodded towards Pat and stammered,

“Yes, we are at the Church of the Holy Trinity, at the corner of Olive and Prast.”

She nodded in satisfaction.

I thought so. I live just down the street from there, and I’ve seen you going around Aspergillumand blessing the neighborhood!

She then went on to tell me that the pastor of her neighborhood church was ill and asked me to pray for him. I took down his name and said I would both pray for him and put him on the parish prayer list.

From where she said she lived, I’m guessing that she saw us last September, when we went around on the feast of St. Michael and All Angels, blessing our neighbors and asking the angels to exercise God’s protection over them. In other words, even though it was seven months later and clear across town, this neighbor remembered us well enough to ask for our prayers.

Tomorrow is another opportunity to make such memories. It will be Tuesday in Rogation week, and for the third year in a row, we will be processing around, blessing the labor of our neighbors. This year’s focus will be on the corner of Bendix and Lincoln Way West. In order to preserve energy, we will meet up in the parking lot of Faith Apostolic Ministries () rather than at Holy Trinity. After blessing our fellow “laborers in the harvest,” we will cross Bendix and bless our way up the east side of the street, veering east onto Ardmore and blessing all the workplaces on the corners before heading south again on the west side of Bendix. On our way back, we will swing west to bless the LaSalle Library and the other businesses of LaSalle Square before getting in our cars to go to Holy Trinity, where we will bless the convenience store across the street and our Unity Garden before heading inside for Eucharist.

Unless it’s raining, in which case we will bless all the same businesses from inside the church!

Our blessings are another way of answering the question “where is your church?”.  Jesus calls us to be salt and light to the world, starting with that part of the world that bumps up against us. To be the church in a neighborhood is to extend God’s peace to that neighborhood.

You never know what an impression that might make.

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Strengthening Our Community: A Church and Neighborhood Conversation

Time2ListenOn May 3, 2014, the Church of the Holy Trinity will host Strengthening Our Community: A Church and Neighborhood Conversation. This conversation, which will take place at the church from 10:30am – 2:00 pm, gives all of us the opportunity to hear from our neighbors about what they recognize as the needs of the neighborhood, what work is already underway in the neighborhood, and how we can work together as a community both to support and to build upon that work.

StrengtheningWe invite you both to join us in this important conversation and to invite anyone you know who lives or works in our part of the West Side. Our goal in this conversation is to listen, and what we hear from our neighbors will inform our work and our partnerships in the months to come.

Our conversation will be facilitated by Rev. Ronald Peters, the Henry L. Hillman Professor of Urban Ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Director of the Metro-Urban Institute. Rev. Peters’ participation is being co-sponsored by Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana and the Africana Studies Department of the University of Notre Dame.

I want to give thanks in advance for all those who are working and have been working hard to make this conversation possible. God has been doing amazing work in all of them!