We have been in the process of moving recently.
A couple months ago, St. James the Less Church told us they plan to reacquire the building to use for parish functions. We discerned that we didn't have the time, resources or direction to make a seamless transfer of our ministries from one location to another in the allotted time. We were given four months to move--longer than what our lease required but not quite long enough under the circumstances. We decided that Christmas would be a natural time to wind down and take a short--or long--hiatus.
Our Free Store has been distributed to other Free Stores in the city and state. We are currently looking at plans to relocate ESL and Pax Christi elsewhere. The Community Garden will hopefully remain on site under the direction of the gardeners from the parish and neighborhood. We'll still make Fair Trade Haitian Coffee available. Other ministries may or may not remain, that will be under the discretion of the parish. It would be wonderful if what began with us could still continue after our departure.
The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry will still occupy the basement and they will not be directly affected by our move.
It's hard to count the blessings of our time at the "old convent"--just a little over 2 years exactly. I think it's fair to say that you just had to have been there to experience it. If you were, you know what it was like.
We had a final potluck and prayer time just the day before moving out. We recounted our ministries and memories. It was clear that ultimately it was about people and it was about community. Folks shared experiences of warmth and hospitality. Friendships were formed, connections were made, ministries began and spun off, and hopefully, to paraphrase Entertaining Angels, maybe life was made just a little bit easier for a few folks who really needed it. We'll never know the extent of our reach, but we sowed in faith and in that faith we have hope.
Yet, even as we try to wind things down, the ministry life of our community just seems to sprout up in all sorts of ways. Requests and opportunities to distribute fair trade coffee have been growing. There is quite a bit of excitement to start up that house of hospitality for refugees and immigrants--something we wanted to do years ago, and it is an idea that just seems to stay with us. Donations and inquiries into our community are increasing. Still, it is time to rest, gather strength and discern our next steps.