Ministry comes at a cost to the minister, and it’s a cost s/he takes on gladly, because it’s worth it to get to be a part of the daily miracles that happen in a powerful spiritual community. This is a story of a cost that a minister, and a community, should not have had to bear.

One of my favorite spiritual communities is The Table in Berkeley. The Table gathers in small groups in the community for knitting and drumming and social issues groups. It has touched hundreds of lives already in its five years because it meets people at wherever they are in their spiritual journey and helps them connect more deeply to a God who loves ALL people as they connect deeply to a community.

One of my favorite things about the Table is that it is so innovative in the way it builds spiritual community–it really is outside-the-box in the best sense of the phrase. While so many of us struggle to be both faithful and relevant, the Table has found a way to be both, and that gives me hope! At a time when a lot of people are not sure the church wants them or that they will really encounter a God of love there, the Table provides a welcoming and empowering space. It is also one of the most diverse groups of people you could hope to meet, racially, in orientation, in age and earnings and even diversity of employment!

Thanks to a generous donation from a church that closed, the Table has recently been able to purchase a house in Berkeley. While they still host gatherings throughout Berkeley, they can now also count on a permanent space for small group meetings. It also serves as the home (parsonage) for Tami Groves, the Table’s spiritual organizer (an ordained Disciples minister) and her soon-to-be-adopted eleven-year-old daughter. (If you know me, you have heard many stories about the adventures the daughter and I get up to whenever I get to borrow her from her hard-working mom.)

As much as I would like everyone to know about the inspiring model of ministry at the Table and the amazing things they do, you know from the title that this is not just an informative blog post, however. So here’s why I’m writing to you. (more…)