Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Gathering: Offering Peace, Welcoming Pilgrims, Pursing Gospel Mission

More than a Local Church: A Community Peace Project, a Pilgrimage Location, a Gospel Mission.

Over the last couple months The Gathering at Salem has been engaged in some of the most innovative and culturally appropriate missions work to be found in the United States.

Every October a half million pilgrims pour into our city to celebrate Halloween, experience alternative spiritualities and party with their friends. Every year we welcome these guests by extending hospitality, offering spiritual counsel and inviting them to experience the incredible grace of God. We could not maintain this mission without the hundreds of people serve beside us throughout the season, or without your generous prayer and financial support.

The rest of the year we continue to impact our city through community service, events designed to reach the city of Salem with lovingkindness, which we believe God has expressed to us through His Son.

Although we have been serving the Halloween pilgrims for 11 years, the last 3 we have had the great privilege of serving them from The Vault – a unique location at the very heart of the city. Since The Vault is a “safe place” for people to experience the hope of Jesus, our location has magnified our ability to introduce the city and its pilgrims to the mission of God.

Over the course of these 11 years, hundreds of people have expressed a desire to meet God, and we have helped them to meet Him. Tens of thousands have been counseled about spiritual issues as we teach them to know the voice of God. They have been served free hot cocoa, entertained by live music, and been blessed freely by our roving "monks." They have received apologies for the times when churches may have hurt them. They have learned about some of the most compelling challenges to social justice in our day, and we have all been gently touched by the Gospel of Love.

Preparation for the Coming Season:

Now, we move into the quieter Winter season. We will gather cold weather clothing for the poor. We will serve the families of Salem with music, and free hot cocoa during the holiday season, and we will create opportunities to meet the community in discussion groups and events in The Vault.

Our small church has become a place, which has been utilized for evangelical mission and social service by dozens of churches and hundreds of individuals each year. Our little group has sacrificially responded to make this mission a reality, but we are in need of help from our friends and those who believe in our mission in order to be able to continue the mission.

Would you consider helping to support the work of The Gathering at Salem this season by offering a one time gift, by joining list of friends who support us monthly and pray for us as we serve both our city and its pilgrims, perhaps with an offering at your church on Sunday morning, or adding our mission to the list of missions your church supports throughout the year? We are confident that God has placed us in Salem for such a time as this and we would deeply appreciate your support.

1 comment:

Shah Afshar said...

Phil, I wish I had the money to pour into the service God has called you into, but...However, when I get there, you'll be on the top of the list. Until then, what I can offer you is my prayers.