Laity offer witness during Bishop's Day on the District
November 12, 2015
During Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar’s session with laity during his day on the RISEM District, two lay members were invited to speak to the audience about what’s been happening in their churches. Barbara McAllister from Wesley UMC in Wareham, MA, and Joan Klein from Haven UMC in East Providence, RI, each spoke about their respective church’s transformation. Watch the video above. At the same session, Clarice Gothberg, who was in the audience, offered a powerful witness about her work with Project Outreach. Project Outreach is the largest food bank in Rhode Island, serving more than 500 households a month. It is a ministry of Open Table of Christ United Methodist Church in Providence, RI.
Here is what Gothberg told the bishop about the importance of one-on-one interaction and individual witness:
“ … when they need spiritual help and need to pray on the phone – when it’s easy to slip away and lose faith and not to be positive anymore – how important it is to have one person of Christian faith from your church that’s willing to be there.
“And the other thing that I’ve found … we get a lot of referrals for community service, young people that have court-ordered community service, young people that are just so broken and in such trouble. About a year ago, I decided that when I interviewed them, if I took them for community service or not, I’d end that interview by saying ‘Do you mind if we pray together?’”
“And this is what I pray with them: ‘Help this young man (or this young woman) remember that he is your beloved child. Help him remember that there are people that love him for care for him. And help us remember what we should do.’”
Gothberg said that some of these young people will cry and tell her that they have never had anyone say those things to or about them before.