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Posts Tagged ‘Radical Hospitality’

Story by Carrie Larson. Photos by Mark Larson and Louis Watts.

calloutI am a proud graduate of FBC’s first School of Radical Hospitality. Led by Ralph Starling, Associate Pastor of Invitation, we studied the book Radical Hospitality by Lonni Collins Pratt and Father Daniel Homan, which is based on the rules of Saint Benedict as observed at Saint Benedict Monastery in Oxford, Michigan.

Hospitality mealThe book’s challenge is to welcome and serve those unlike us, those who have nothing to give but need something from us. It also reminds us to recognize our opportunities. We often believe we have to search for opportunities outside our everyday lives, but radical hospitality is a response to the needs that find us in our everyday lives.

Two groups have now graduated from FBC’s School and are busy practicing this concept:

  • Our inaugural hospitality class was asked to serve ice cream after an RVA United worship service in the summer of 2013. We had so much fun that we committed to every service. Imagine our surprise when, seeing the deserts, one man said: “Now that’s some radical hospitality!” We are grateful for the opportunity to help this group flourish and grow.
  • Sandra Saunders met David Nambu and Samuel Kwasi, Baptist pastors from Ghana, while greeting at the Monument Avenue entrance. As friends, she often brings them to RVA United and surprised David with a birthday cake after one of those services.
  • Louis and Linda Watts met Nazanin, a VCU student from Iran, at a Newcomer’s luncheon. They offered to drive her home after lunch and a relationship was born. They “adopted” her – answering a mother’s prayers that her daughter would be safe and welcomed in America. Louis and Linda have befriended many of the VCU students, opening their home and hearts to all of them.
  • Fran Hudgins and her husband, Wally, serve as greeters at the Monument Avenue door every Sunday. Fran recently sat with a hungry and distraught visitor who showed up for worship but really just needed someone to listen to her. Fran was able to give her something to eat as she had a banana in her purse. Fran said, “It was just a Band-Aid but a Band-Aid helps us heal!”
  • Dorothy Jones joined The Next Step, my Bible study class, several years ago. When she moved into an apartment and needed furniture and other household goods, the class helped her. She has become a valued member of the class and often rides with me to church on Sundays. I have gained a wonderful friend and an amazing prayer partner. When I asked Dorothy if I could mention her in this article, her reply was, “Anything to bring glory to God.”

Radical Hospitality group
Hospitality mealSee a need, meet a need, maybe even discover a passion in the process. It really is that simple to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond. Some needs find us, others we seek out, but in the process, we may provide a temporary Band-Aid or a lifeline. We may never see the person again or we may develop a lasting relationship. Whatever the outcome, people I once considered unlike me – whether ethnically, culturally, economically, or any other category – have become friends and neighbors. My world is so much richer for having met them. So, I encourage you to “throw open the windows, swing wide the doors, crank up the music of our lives and our congregations. Amazing things will happen if we stop protecting ourselves and become available to others, radically available.”*

*Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way of Love, 2nd Edition by Lonni Collins Pratt and Father Daniel Homan

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