Hey, folks- story time. So, the first day I had gone out with one of the reverends from Frederick Presbyterian to pass out flyers for our first Race and #RealTalk program, our second stop was at what looked like a smallish church up the street. We went inside and were greeted by two of their pastors, a man and a woman, as some citizens in need were beginning to arrive at the church for the meals they share there a couple of times a week. I could tell by the spirit with which the woman greeted us and everyone else who walked through the doors that this was a community dedicated to making the world better–even if only in the few square feet of a block their building claimed on the block.
I handed a flyer to each of them, explaining HALO’s mission and the purpose of the program. The woman’s name is Debbie. Her face lit with inspiration as she said to us, “Please– you must have this here. Let me show you the space we’ve just renovated.”
I was wrong about one assumption of this church– the building looks modest on the outside. But behind the small sanctuary just up a narrow flight of stairs from the main entrance is about another 6500 square feet of space. A banquet/conference room-surrounded by a balcony of offices, classrooms, and more meeting space. With tables and chairs for small group discussions. A stage for us to sing together. And she was offering all of this for us to use as a place to keep this program going. The perfect place–a safe space– to bring people together to share our perspectives on racism and to experience the beauty of that tension through Barbershop singing. The perfect place to bring others in to witness how this cultural transformation can be influenced by Barbershop.
It’s a bit hard to believe that I could have “stumbled upon” such serendipity. I had no idea that this church could possibly have had all of this gorgeous space. I was wrong about the size of the building, but I was right about their generous commitment to the community and the world. Even that, perhaps I had underestimated. Two months later, after our first program concluded, Debbie was just as enthusiastic about opening their doors to HALO, for nothing in return except the joy and hope of seeing the work of our program flourish.
We’re very excited to announce that starting February 3, 2018 from 12:30-2:30pm, we will have bimonthly sessions for a long-term Race and #RealTalk program in the conference space of Centennial United Methodist Church. We knew it– this is just the beginning!
MORE DETAILS TO COME– STAY TUNED!