I shout this out on Wednesday summer evenings during our church BBQ ministry, where we bring a grill into Trowbridge Square Park in the Hill (in New Haven, CT). The good people of Christ Presbyterian Church in The Hill bring dishes, fruits, a salad, and some dessert. We offer a small feast to whomever happens to be in the park that evening. Sometimes, for some, it will be there only meal for the day. Anyone in the Park at that time is invited to join us for a short message (i.e., some park preaching) and prayer—and they do, indeed, come to hear the Word. 40, 60, and even sometimes, 80 gather. Listen. Pray. And, then, eat. It is a remarkable 90 minutes.
Our BBQ park ministry is called “In His Midst.” When we refer to the summer ministry as “In His Midst,” there are two meaning behind this:
1) God is already there in the Park. He has been working in the lives of the people who are there—already. We aren’t starting something so He’d show up. We are showing up in a place He is already working. We are going to be “In His Midst.” We don’t show up so God will be there; we show up because God is already there in that park.
2) Also, we believe that we, CPC in The Hill, are the body of Christ locally. This is what Ephesians 1:22-23 teaches: Christ is the head of the church and the church is His body. For whatever crazy reason, God decided to make His presence known through the presence of His church. So, our presence in the park is Jesus’ mediated presence in the park. We chose to bring Jesus into the park through our BBQ Park ministry.
The good people in the Park are both strangers and family (a slice of the Hill). At the 6:00pm hour on Wednesday summer evenings, there are dad’s spending some time with their kids (just trying to do right and make the best of things), plenty of single mom’s with their kids (just trying to get some relief from the day and give their kids some energy release), drug addicts (some even smoking 420 right there), dealers, alcoholics (some who can’t even walk and some just so happy we’re there), too many homeless hanging on a thread, hungry, and at a loss for what they should do (and some with kids who will be outside that evening—well, at least it’s summer, right?), and way too many unparented teens just hanging out. Did I mention gang members? And, there are a number of Park neighbors, good families who love seeing something good and positive happening that evening.
We cannot solve all their issues or problems, not even a few of them, but we can feed them, love on them, and open up some space for strangers to be a large family of neighbors just for an evening. "In His Midst" teaches us who we are as His body and puts us right in the middle of where Jesus said he'd be, in the midst of strangers.
You can extend your ministry and life of faith by supporting this significant 2018 summer ministry. Although our members bring from their own resources, it still takes about $185 of our church resources each week. This summer 2018, we need a new Grill, too (and we give out school supplies and other needed items as well). Consider supporting our 2018 “In His Midst” summer BBQ Park Ministry--through our 2018 GoFundMe campaign >>
Also, get a feel for our church and its ministry in the Hill by catching up with our Hill Monthly Updates >>