Many Voices One Mission: Extraordinary Things

by Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane


5/1/2019

I belong to a monthly book club.  It’s a real book club – not one of those excuses to drink wine clubs – so there are usually insightful, diverse, and lively discussions among the 15-20 people who attend. This month’s book (which was also a movie) was called “Same Different as Me” – a story that followed the lives and friendship of an international art dealer and a homeless man.

Because of the subject matter of the book, most of the discussion that evening centered on racism, opportunity, evangelism, and homelessness. However, I brought up an additional insight: the wonderful work one person can do to change the lives of many others.

In the book, a woman named Deborah volunteered at a local mission in Fort Worth, Texas, where she truly treated the poor as fellow human beings, and was dedicated to doing more to help the homeless in their town than just serving a meal to them. In the process, she and her husband befriended a rather hardened homeless person, gave him support, and together they did wonderful things for the community and uplifted many of the poor in the area. 

In the book, and in my discussion group, these acts of kindness were considered extraordinary. And yet, I did not find it extraordinary at all, because I see it all the time.

As the Spotlight editor, I hear about individuals and church groups doing amazing things every day. Over the past 13 years, there have been almost 250 Spotlight articles published. 

I have written stories about:

There are pastors who have implemented special services for those with special needs, and even started special churches for those who may not be so comfortable in a “regular” church setting.

Some churches have even gone beyond their town – and country’s – borders to reach out and fight HIV/AIDS in South Africa and raise money to support the people affected by Japanese disasters.

There is even a church whose mission was to help those who help others.

I am inspired every day by these stories.  And it gives me great pleasure to play a small part in sharing these stories so others may be inspired to do similar things.  I can only hope that as more churches share their own stories and inspire others, it will get to a point where acts of kindness are considered ordinary, not extraordinary.

Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane is the Publications Editor for the MA Conference, UCC.
Many Voices
Many Voices, One Mission is a regular series highlighting the ministries of the
CT, MA, and RI Conference of the United Church of Christ.
 

Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane



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