A few months ago I found myself sitting around a table at the Granville Room with a bunch of people I had never met. We were at Alpha. It was a diverse group—in fact we couldn’t have been more different; a guy who lived on the street, some girls who had just come from a dance class, a downtown business executive, and a few others. We ate some food, shared some stories, had some laughs, listened to a talk, and started to discuss what we had heard. I was hosting the discussion that night and in many ways feeling way out of my depth and comfort zone. In all honesty, in the back of my mind I was thinking how much easier it would be to hang out with my friends, people like me …
Very early into the discussion I realized that most of the people at the table had never really considered who Jesus was. One girl quickly asserted that she was an atheist. Nevertheless, my role was only to listen. As I listened and let people express their opinions, walls came down with authenticity and vulnerability, and heartfelt responses began to emerge. What really struck me was when one of the girls at the table said, “Wow. I have never really thought about it that way before.” At the end of the night, I was so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and into what God was doing.
As I reflect on that experience, I felt like it was a metaphor for my journey at St Peter’s. I was reminded that discipleship happens in the everyday. It happens in the midst of real people, with real lives, around food, and through relationships. It has always been important to me to be a part of a community that isn’t afraid of tough conversations or different opinions—a community who is intentional about stepping out and embracing the other.
This has been the gift of St. Peter’s Fireside for me: a community where everyone is welcome. Through things like Alpha and my community group, I have been challenged to participate in what it means to be the church, and to build relationships with people who I wouldn’t normally hang out with, even if that means embracing the awkward every now and then. Being at St. Peter’s has welcomed me to pull up a chair at the table of underserving friends.
It’s exciting to be a part of a community where I once again see hope alive all around me.
If you call St. Pete’s home and would like to share a story of renewal, please email our Creative Development Coordinator, Derek Martin.