Over the course of 4 days, I covered 1,000 miles visiting congregations in Maine and New Hampshire. It was a great run, but I must admit, me bum is a bit wilted. (said with a British accent)
My last stop was First Lutheran Church in Malden, MA. (Good website by the way) Pastor Rachel Manke had invited me to be a part of their Advent evening worship, but first dinner. Where to go? She suggested this Indian food place. I was all in for energizing my taste buds on some south Indian cuisine.
I'll admit the sorta hole in the wall appearance gave me pause but I was going to trust my pastor for the day. Later I learned it was her first visit to the restaurant. An amazing meal, with a variety of textures and colors, curry galore! Halfway through the meal, the owner, whose name is Pumleigh (forgive the spelling), engaged us in conversation. "What parish are you with? Where is this church? I went to BC, and have attend catholic and pentecostal churches. Will you give me a blessing?" etc Pastor Rachel was on it with here handy dandy biz card with the churches address and an invite to come to worship.
After we honored her request for a blessing, we left.
Evening vespers at First Lutheran was quiet, calm and meditative. Then part way through worship I see the doors at the back of the church open and in comes Pumleigh. She stays and participates in worship including a candle lighting ritual.
(In the photo she is placing a candle among other candles - the iphone camera can't handle the range and blows out the highlights)
Following worship she stays and engages in conversation and participates in the Q&A with the Bish. As the discussion turns to outreach for the congregation, Pumleigh raises her hand and describes her journey that evening. She had been wondering where she might find a new church, and most recently began to pray about this question. Then everything happened - dinner, conversation, Pastor Rachel's invite, the evening worship, the welcoming place.
Folks, it just doesn't get any better than this!