Beside 513 Talbot Street sits a very special place called Sanctuary. It makes use of an addition to the main church building called ‘the atrium’. Two churches working together, sharing the same space. One Church. Often, the ‘Church-outside-the-church’. The people who come here are looking for something; food for the most part, as there are two meals provided each week. There are others who come looking for something more than physical sustenance. They come early, before the supper for fellowship, cards and coffee. Spiritual needs are taken care of.
I have been attending all of the functions at Sanctuary for nearly four years and have the others neatly divided into two camps: those who have had their lives destroyed, and those who are questioning their faith. Of course i’m sitting on the fence between the two. Many are lonely and looking for fellowship. Some can be alone for short periods in solitude; but few can endure isolation for any length of time and remain healthy. I believe that we are social creatures. The food may seem like it is the only thing drawing the folks in, but the fellowship, such as it is, keeps them coming back. It may not be as close-knit as some other churches, but it does welcome outsiders, many of whom have no where else to go because of drugs, alcohol, and mental health. They don’t get neatly dressed for the Bible study and they don’t put on their Sunday best for the circle meeting, possibly because they don’t own any fine and fancy clothing for such a purpose.
Paul talked about the social gospel and the scum of the earth congregation in the first century. It still exists, and will probably continue into the future if prophecy can be relied upon. It’s just that these days rent is offered free.
By Dan Lenart