12/21/13

BINGO BEATS BACK BLUES

Gingerbread Man smiles. A mix of Belltowners, espresso, live music, donated prizes, snacks, and bingo, all combined to beat back the blues. For a pilot event, this first Holiday Blues & Bingo launched well at Street Bean Espresso. This was a true collaboration between church and community, and drew a diverse group from the neighborhood. A crowd of about thirty to forty people came together, including seniors, little kids, neighbors from Bakhita Gardens, surrounding condos, and members from the two cosponsoring organizations, Belltown Community Council and Emmaus Road Church. A review from some of the women from Bakhita Gardens spoke highly of the event, and a request to repeat. Another individual shared how he heard of the event at 3rd/Cedar, and experienced some healing as he greeted friends and neighbors in the same place he had been violently attacked outside a year ago. One of the seniors from Simons Senior Apartments recognized us, and thanked us for cleaning his oven a couple years ago. Kudos to Bingo Master Keith Kentop and his Belltown Bingettes, who kept the matches rolling and the prizes flowing. Compliments to the Belltown Bingo Blues Band - Mark Nelson and Mark Wolford, plus Pastor Sax. Thanks Emmaus Road: Suellen, Likkel, Mullenix, and Rosnick families, Addis', Davey Dave, Matthew Rock, JP, Elizabeth C, and Ayres, for joining the event, and for donating snacks, prizes and $ toward Emmaus Road's portion of sponsorship (hope I did not leave anyone out)! More pix on Emmaus Road's Facebook page.

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The Emmaus Road Story

In the winter of 1997, we began as a small team of about 10 people, committed to gathering and growing a church that would connect with others like ourselves; people interested in connecting with God, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, but disconnected from the activity of many mainstream congregations. With the financial support of a larger church organization, our pastor was able to work full time with the team in planning, leadership development, and meeting people in the community.

Our first meetings were open discussion forums. We talked about prayer, scripture, spiritual discipline and the issues with which we all struggle. As friends talked to friends, the first group expanded and we multiplied into two.

Inspired by the journey process as a metaphor for spiritual growth, we searched for a name which would reflect that idea. In the resurrection narrative of Luke 24, we found our name "on the road to Emmaus."

After our first worship event on Good Friday of 1997, both groups began to gather together for worship once a month. In various coffee shops and rental spaces, we gradually increased our worship times to twice a month, and in September of 1998 we decided to gather every Sunday. Since the beginning, numerical growth has been gradual but steady, most often through the personal contact of friends talking to friends.

Today, several small groups continue to meet for open discussions on prayer, scripture, and the process of encountering God in daily life; we all gather for worship each week.