As you probably already know, at Sanctuary London, we’ve always got a pot of coffee brewing, or a warm kettle ready to make some tea. We believe there’s really no better way to connect with another person than welcoming them with a fresh warm mug of their favorite beverage. A warm drink also helps to level out the power differential between people as they share conversation around a common table.
For me, it’s coffee. A nice dark roast. Black of coarse. The cool fall weather recently reminds me of one particular interaction I had three or four years ago. It was the beginning of fall. On a walk about down by the river I found a makeshift tent that was quite obviously ‘home’ for what looked like two people. But I couldn’t find anybody. I came back to that spot a number of times during the week, but there was never anyone around.
About a week later I noticed that the weather forecast predicted a very cold night. Colder than it had been so far that year. My mind went to the person sleeping by the river. I didn’t remember seeing any blankets or warm clothes lying around. So I called up a friend, found a few old sleeping bags and picked up four large coffees from Tim Horton’s, with cream and sugar on the side.
Usually when people from Sanctuary go on outreach walks, we intentionally do not go with supplies. We don’t want to be service suppliers, or people who give ‘stuff’ away. We simply desire to build relationship with people, and sometimes, we have learned, ‘stuff’ can get in the way of real relationship. But every once in a while, all of our theories and theologizing are thrown out the window as our hearts are nudged by the Spirit within us.
It was one of those times. It was frigid, and I was concerned for the well-being of these unknown people. So, with coffees in hand, we went out late in the evening together, walking along the path until we came to the place where I knew the shelter was made. There was a dim light glowing through the tarp.
Knowing that these are sacred spaces, not much different from my own living room at home, we do not approach people’s shelter without an invitation. So I called out, “Hello?”
No answer. So I tried again, “Hello?”
“We really don’t mean to disturb you, so if you don’t respond, we’ll just keep walking. But it’s really cold tonight, so we just thought maybe you could use some warm blankets and a cup of coffee.”
And within moments a young man and a young woman came out from underneath the shelter and joined us on the path, eager and ever so thankful to receive these ‘life-saving gifts’.
This was a trans-formative moment for me. I firmly believe that in that moment, if I had offered these people either a thousand dollars, or a hot coffee, their frigid and shaking hands would have instinctively reached for the warmth of the coffee. This was the beginning of friendship.
What about you? Are you a tea lover? A coffee lover?
Maybe your just passionate about the work of Sanctuary and are looking for a small way to get involved.
This is your opportunity! Sanctuary is looking for people to help us sell Coffee, Tea and some amazing Gift Baskets.
The fundraiser goes from October 3-20th, 2015, with a kick-off tasting party and information session on October 3rd from 2-4:30pm.
There will be prizes for whoever sells the most!
Please check out our event page https://www.facebook.com/events/1128270543867144/
Or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!