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.
A week ago, as Tami and her daughter were pulling up in front of the Table’s house (and their home), they heard someone give several sharp whistles, and two young men came tearing out of the house and down the street with Tami’s laptop (which allows her to do the social media for the Table as well as helping her run the Berkeley Food Pantry and write sermons for her job as interim minister at New Spirit Community Church in Berkeley–remember how I mentioned at the beginning that ministers make many sacrifices because they are so committed to their work? Tami embodies that, taking several part-time ministries that help the community since none of them can pay full-time salaries).
In addition to the cost of the lost laptop, the young men broke the front door. (The Berkeley police did an amazing job of retrieving Tami’s iPad and catching the young men, who had also robbed another house earlier that day two blocks away. I’d like to ask for prayers that a restorative justice solution be found for the sake of both those young men and a community that doesn’t want young men to disappear into the criminal justice system without a chance at redemption.) The Table does have insurance to cover some of the $2500 in damages, but the $1000 deductible is a large amount for a community more focused on spiritual healing and justice than it is on making bank.
This is where you come in.
If fifty people gave twenty dollars each, the Table would be able to reimburse Tami for the laptop that meets so many people’s needs for both spiritual and physical food. It would also help them immensely with other costs related to the break-in.
If you have fifty or even a hundred, excellent! If all you have is five or ten, it will make a real difference to a community that is making a real difference.
Please donate generously.
Click HERE to donate via paypal
Click HERE to learn more about the Table (and then donate!)
Ministry comes at a real cost, but you can help lighten that burden today. Thank you!