Your NFC – June 21, 2013

Click here: June 21, 2013 for the entire issue.

by Frank Engle

by Frank Engle

I have deep appreciation for the many kindnesses shown by my NFC family when my wife, Patsy, was diagnosed with cancer. We truly felt carried by prayer. The heartfelt cards, hospital visits, support of our parish nurse, and many wonderful meals greatly encouraged us. The care we received after Patsy died was also sustaining—the boys and I felt uplifted and lovingly surrounded by our church. We continue to feel this support and are deeply grateful.

What we hadn’t anticipated was the care we received from another church—our neighbor from across the street. The morning after Patsy died, the church secretary from St. Peter Catholic Church stopped by and tearfully gave me a card: “We’re your neighbor, and we’re praying for you.” Over the months they dropped by with meals and came for visits. When they started a Friday night community dinner, several urged me to attend. They laughed when I told them that if the meals were anything like those they brought to us, I was in! Not sure who I’d meet, I went to one of their first dinners and was delighted to find several neighbors as well as friends and strangers from all walks of life from around the community.

The Friday night dinners became high priority; I began looking forward to them. It was a great way to visit with neighbors as well as form new friendships and deepen others with people I’d only casually known. Then last fall I signed up as a volunteer and joined Team Two, which serves the dinner on the second Friday of the month. The team is led by Pat, a retired woman, who has an amazing gift of hospitality, all the way from overseeing the preparation of a home-cooked meal that’s served by about ten helpers to visiting with the guests during the dinner and staying until the last plate is washed. Pat and crew call me their “adopted Quaker,” and a highlight for all of us is joining hands for prayer before the doors open. On a good night, more than 100 meals are served.

I later learned that St. Peter is one of several churches offering weekday community meals. Zion Lutheran hosts Monday Meals from 5:30 to 7 p.m.; Wednesdays are a Simple Supper from 6 to 7 p.m. at River Street Church of God. Newberg Christian started the first weekday dinner, the Community Kitchen, on Thursdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and has the largest turnouts, sometimes 200-300 people. On Fridays, St. Peter Catholic Church serves their meal from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Also, every second Tuesday of the month, Dundee United Methodist Church provides a meal from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. These churches work closely with Love INC, which promotes this ministry within the community.

How encouraging it is to see churches working together to be the body of Christ in our community! While it’s a blessing to know that those who are financially strapped can enjoy a no-cost meal at least four nights a week, it’s equally heartwarming to know that these churches open their doors for their neighbors and those in the community who desire fellowship and hospitality.

A few months ago, as I was helping Pat make spaghetti, I told her about how my heart went out to them when their priest and two parishioners drowned in a boating accident. I prayed for them, helped with parking during the memorial service and tried to reach out to some of my neighbors who were grieving. “Now your church has been a neighbor and support to me,” I said. She was quiet for a moment and replied, “I think that’s what being a part of the body of Christ is all about.”

Frank Engle had served as NFC’s pastor of equipping ministries for 11 years when in 1999 he changed roles and became Friendsview Retirement Community’s director of marketing. He recently enjoyed traveling to Southern California for his son Tim’s graduation from Biola University. In September Tim will begin an internship at Twin Rocks Friends Camp. Frank’s other son, Aaron, works at Bonaventura Italian Deli and will be a GFU freshman in the fall.

Click here: June 21, 2013 for the entire issue.

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