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Thank You to the Volunteers of the Interfaith Shelter!

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Thank you for supporting the Interfaith Shelter Network homeless shelter at PLCPC.  You welcomed, housed, and fed fourteen individuals experiencing homelessness.  Some quick facts:

  • 141 nights of shelter were provided for 14 individuals
  • 296 dinners were served
  • 136 lunches and 144 breakfasts were provided
  • over 130 of you filled 183 volunteer shifts, totaling 712 volunteer hours

Thanks go to all who helped set up and take down the shelter, all who contributed to and prepared meals, and all who volunteered for tasks big and small.  In a broader sense, thanks go to all of the congregation for supporting this effort with your prayers, for your financial support, and for building & maintaining a facility so well-suited for this purpose.

The lasting benefit to our guests, though, will come from your many hours of conversation, prayer, listening, playing, tutoring, loving, and simply being present at a time when our guests needed support.  All who stayed with us expressed their gratitude for the warm embrace received from our congregation. 

If you were inspired by this experience, consider supporting or volunteering with one of our mission partners who serve the homeless, including:  Presbyterian Urban Ministries, OB Emergency Food Bank (Loaves & Fishes), Ladle Ministry, Uplift Tutoring, and OB Community Dinners.  More information about these organizations can be found on the Mission Beyond page of the PLCPC website.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…                                                                 Matthew 25:35

Posted by Mark Olcott with


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In Chicago, where I spent my last few years, Spring’s arrival is always a moving target.  Holy Week might roll around with balmy temps and tulips blooming… or the ground might be frozen solid and covered in snow.  The Easter flowers at my old church had to be delivered in special insulated boxes so they wouldn’t drop all their petals in the frigid winds between the delivery van and the church door.  Palm branches were exorbitantly expensive and had to be flown in special.  Lots of Churches made their Palm Sunday greenery out of construction paper and sticks or kept fake palms stored in the basement all year and had the yearly ritual of dusting them off.

Trudging through snow and grayness could make it particularly hard to amp yourself up for Hosannas and Easter Joy, but it made the equally important work of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday way easier.  There is no darkness like a cloud burdened winter night.  There is no quiet like sound-deadening, traffic-stopping snowfall.

I’m going to miss that kind of silence and stillness here in California.  But just because we aren’t burdened by our environment like our Midwestern siblings in Christ doesn’t mean we shouldn’t connect to that depth of silence and darkness as we prepare for Christ's Resurrection.  Your experience of Easter will be so much richer if you first sit with what it would feel like for the Light of the World to be snuffed out.

The word “Tenebrae” is Latin for darkness and in our Maundy Thursday service this year, that is what we will be moving toward.  We will read scripture texts, sing hymns, extinguish candles, ring bells; all to take us further into that dark place the disciples found themselves in after Jesus’ death.  Of course, we know today that the end of the story leads us to new life, but rushing past the discomfort of desolation is like skipping good, healthy food for the sweet emptiness of dessert in our whole lives.  That can leave us with nothing but a sugarcoated faith that proves meaningless in hard times.

The temptation to skip the hard parts of Holy Week and jump to the chocolate bunnies and coconut cake of Easter is real.  Resist! The dark moments of desolation before Christ's Resurrection are foundational to why we celebrate Easter with so much Joy.  Come to the Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service with your church family to witness the fading of the light.  Come sit in the same darkness Christ's disciples felt so that your Easter Joy might be filled with new meaning this year.

Posted by Alex Wirth with