by Carol Anne Lawler, HPCCR Communities of Faith Liaison
The above title constituted the theme of the United in Hope for Our Community Prayer Breakfast that I attended several weeks ago at First Christian Church in Lincolnton, NC. The minister, Rev. Kathy Naish, raises her own chickens, and so breakfast was made with her own organic eggs, directly from her hen house. She even made gravy, to the delight of a few of the more boisterous ministers, who clamored for sausage gravy, at every turn, in the preceding weeks. Breakfast was indeed tasty and it was only the precursor of what was to come.
Kathy Vinzant, Executive Director of the United Way in Lincoln County, was the speaker who shared her life story, which included a number of challenges as she grew up. As an adult, working on the issues of domestic violence and child abuse, she told us about a woman who called her to say she really needed to talk. Well, Kathy met with her in a school parking lot, and they talked for several hours. She later found out the woman had planned to take her own life that very afternoon. Are you listening? Do you hear?
That was just one example among a number of other personal ways Kathy’s life has touched others. She concluded her remarks by saying that she couldn’t sew, couldn’t cook, couldn’t sing, etc. But that God had given her a life – to use. And so she has, and still does, make a difference by working with United Way, an organization that has consistently been generous to Hospice & Palliative Care Lincoln County.
Those sitting at their tables were given a slip of paper with a prayer topic –within the community and in the world – for those who suffer and were in need of prayer. In a day and age when almost every subject begins and ends divisively, words of connection, thoughts for healing, and intention for one’s highest good was the order of the day. We accomplished much in a short hour and a half that Tuesday.
So how does a prayer breakfast in Lincolnton relate to Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region? For one thing, the community was able to meet our Lincoln County chaplains, Earlynne Bartley and Walt Windley, who do a wonderful job of meeting people’s spiritual needs for our organization. Second, as Faith Community Liaison, part of my role is to build relationships, provide education, and be a resource within the faith community. I submit to you that relationships were deepened and friendships formed because we came together for the common good. And as HPCCR President & CEO Pete Brunnick recently said at the unveiling of the new Hospice & Palliative Care Lincoln County office, “This is your hospice. We couldn’t do this without you.”
That is so true. We simply need to take more opportunities to come together around what unites us. In hope. One faith community at a time. Or, one community coming together in faith.
Are you listening? Do you hear?