Today, Dec. 2, was the first service of The Gathering in Main Street Garden Park. Temperatures were in the upper 70's, with a mild wind, and sunny skies.
If there was one total home run, it was having the Austin Street Shelter choir provide the music. With a generator for the organ and microphone, the choir preceded the worship and then sang during the worship. Ten choir members took part, men and women, dressed in black and white. They were applauded numerous times.
Fr. Charlie Keen did a good job as celebrant, keeping the service moving, without it being stilted. He had the respect of the congregation, and was able to relate to all.
The altar was situated on the edge of the grass at the east end of the park, with a "stage" with seating behind. Five to six homeless sat there, and another 4-5 sat a little further away. During the service 4-5 homeless persons were standing in the circle close to the altar. Others were around the park.
After the service, we provided 35 meals, 10 of which were to the choir. The support group of about 10, including six from the St. Michael youth department who gave out socks and water, did not eat. Plus another 5 people wandered by and stayed for part of the service. So, it could be estimated that 45-50 were in attendance. It did not feel like this size of crowd.
We had one person (Jonah) who joined the church today. We said a blessing with him, and gave him the membership cross. Several others said they would be back next week. Many of them thanked us after the extended Eucharist, saying how appreciative they were.
The extended Eucharistic meal consisted of two full sized tacos, chips and sauce from RustyTaco, and two small chocolate bars. Also, the SMAA youth gave out 75 pair of socks with a water bottle inside.