Often, we as busy Summerland residents never get around to developing a meaningful relationship with those who live all around us… our neighbours. As Christians, we tend to migrate to those of like mind as we are then able to discuss mutual passions and avoid difficult questions and debate. Most of our friends would be classified in the ‘Christian’ category which isn’t bad, but if these are exclusively our ‘go to’ friends, then our horizons really do need to expand.
On the night of Sunday, May 31st, we held a Block Party on our street which honestly didn’t take a whole lot of work or time commitment. We did up a simple invitation noting the time, place, what to bring (dessert & lawn chair) and what to expect (music, coffee & ice tea, desserts, a clown for the kids, and a chance to connect with neighbors) and hand delivered them to about 20 homes on our street. I gave out the invites about one month prior to the event and then about a week prior, I just stuck a reminder in each door. The result was a group of about 40 neighbors that came with dessert and chair in hand and spent about 2 hours meeting and talking with each other.
The Back Porch Gospel band played steady for the 2 hours, which provided a background option to having to just talk. Larabelle the clown painted the kids faces and made balloon animals. She was busy the entire 2 hours with the kids.
Several of the neighbors helped to clean up and virtually everyone stopped to thank me for organizing the event and stated their hope that this could be repeated annually. In the week since… there truly is a new atmosphere on the street with people smiling, waving and calling us by name.
Jesus went out of his way to spend time with those who were not in his inner circle. He visited their homes, engaged in conversation and generally showed his love for them through his willingness to make simple connections.
People tend to want to contribute to any gathering, or else they feel guilty participating. By having people bring a dessert to share, they can feel like they contributed in some small way and find it more acceptable to attend. (One single guy came with a small box of Tim Bits… and stayed the full 2 hours!)
Why not consider taking a step toward meaningful relationships with your neighbors by holding your own Block Party. If you would like some assistance… we’d love to help. Just call Pastor Del at the church.
This past March, a large team from SBC went to San Quentin Mexico to serve with One Life One Chance Ministries. We've since received a letter from One Life Once Chance and a video from the family we built a home for and we thought you would enjoy viewing them!
Hello Summerland crew!
We just wanted to send a quick message to the group who came down to Mexico this spring, and to the whole church, to say thank you so much for all that you did and all that you gave here in Mexico. It was an absolute pleasure to work with your group - so willing and serving, so great with the kids, great with the family. You were a huge blessing to us as staff and to the people you worked with here.
We went back to visit your family! They were so happy, they all seem to be doing well. Vayda has been sending me emails for Nikcia and when we went to visit she was so thrilled to get Vayda’s letter. We really appreciate how your group is making an effort to continue that relationship! Below is a little message from them to all of you:
Thank you very much & God bless!
Heather McMaster Molina
Director of Indigenous Ministries
One Life One Chance Ministries
And here is a video from our family!
As our ministry year wraps up, we look back at some of the significant moments, initiatives and connections that have emerged since last fall… for Christ’s sake! One of those has been the ‘Better Together’ Family sponsorship initiative which connected 23 young families with 23 empty-nest couples or singles for the purpose of assistance, encouragement, investment, prayer and mentorship. These sponsorships have enriched both young families and sponsors as they have shared meals, events, needs and connected as extended family.
One Young family commented that “it has given me wonderful spiritual support in times of need. It has taken a lot of stress off me. We have celebrated birthdays, Christmas, baby dedication and enjoyed bonfires at the beach and many other fun things.” Another young family said: “If (you) don’t have blood relatives in the area, it’s really nice to have an ‘adopted’ family nearby that you can lean on.”
In addition, one sponsor couple commented that “…we enjoy having our family as our friends! We believe that this is just the beginning and that the Lord has a purpose for this friendship… one of mutual support and love.”
To celebrate all these connections, about 75 of our families and sponsors met at the Harvelle House ranch on May 30th for a BBQ, horse drawn wagon rides, face painting and balloon animals by ‘Larabelle’ the clown with time to visit and count the blessings of this past season of Better Together.
We look forward to even more and deeper connections when we convene once again this coming fall. Why not consider becoming a part of the ‘Better Together’ sponsorship initiative this fall? Stay tuned for more information, and pray that the Lord will be honored as you make yourself available to give and receive from Him!
On Saturday, May 9th, Summerland’s Emergency Social Services team put on a Mock Disaster Scenario for training purposes in preparation for the potential of a community disaster (forest fire, chemical spill, earthquake etc.). I (Pastor Del) have been on our local team for the past 13 years and we have added 7 more folks from our church to this team who meet, train and plan to be ready to respond to the needs of our community should an emergency arise. This training event was held at the Summerland Arena, which would actually be the site of our emergency reception center in the event of such a disaster. The scenario was a major structural fire in a large residential complex housing many families, couples and individuals who had to be evacuated and had nowhere to go, no food, clothes, housing etc. To make the scenario more realistic, I recruited 26 people from our church and community to act as the evacuee victims of the fire. Each of our actors (which included individuals, couples and whole families) were given 3 profiles they had to act out (complete with costumes, injuries, ethnic complexities and needs). Each individual had to come be assessed and registered before they were given vouchers to sustain them for the next 72 hours.
I was amazed at how these folks played the part to realistic perfection! The pictures you see here really don’t do justice to the creativity and emotion brought out by these actors! I had many of our ESS team ask, “where did you find such gifted people?” My answer was, “mostly from my church” to which they commented, “Wow… what kind of church do you have anyway!”.
All in all this was an amazing and beneficial exercise for our ESS team and was a great opportunity to take one more major step in being prepared to look after the needs of Summerland in the event of a community disaster. Isn’t it good to know that there are those in our community (and church) who are looking out for and preparing to ‘stand on guard for thee!’? It’s exactly what the word of God tells us to do… “Love one another as I have loved you”! John 15:12