The call came on the Monday before New Year’s. It was a grieving mother. She and her husband lost their 15 year old daughter unexpectedly to illness. They needed a place to hold a service.
The mother had attended a memorial service at our church for a friend she knew from college: Brian Reisinger. As we spoke on the phone, she said she remembered me from Chapman College. Sure enough, when she and her husband met at the church, I recognized her. In fact, we were both in a wedding over 30 years ago. She was in the bridal party; I conducted the choir.
She called in hope, remembering the size of our sanctuary and knowing they would need a large space. I also think she contacted us because the service she’d attended while difficult was a source of hope and healing. I said that of course they could have the service at First Christian Church of Pomona and I could preside.
Their daughter was born with Down’s Syndrome and later developed autism. They adopted special needs children and devoted themselves to being advocates for them and for other families. Through their efforts, they have created more safe space for children with special needs and their families.
First Christian Church of Pomona became their sanctuary, their safe place during one of the most difficult seasons of their lives. It was a privilege to stand with them, to represent Christ and the church in this time. It was reassuring to know that standing with me was a congregation devoted to being a healing presence in the midst of lives broken by distress and disease.
Your support of the ministry of First Christian Church of Pomona makes possible moments like the ones on the first Saturday of 2014. The year has started already with significant ministry, ministry that began inside our walls, reached out beyond those walls and then provided safe place/sanctuary inside those walls. May God bless us to be “Good News” throughout 2014.