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ERIC Number: EJ880862
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Apr
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0046-9157
Spiritual and Religious Supports Part 10: Congruence in Faith and Action--Inclusivity in New Orleans
Johnson, Alan
Exceptional Parent, v40 n4 p32, 34-35 Apr 2010
The First Congregational Church has a heart of mission. Yet, when the mission hits a situation that's personal and makes one squirm a bit, it becomes more of a challenge. Seven teams have been sent from the church to help the rebuilding in New Orleans. The first teams did the mucking, getting all of the belongings out of the house and putting them on the street. It was moldy to say the least. The next several trips found them hanging sheet rock, then taping, mudding, and sanding. There were the tillers, those who laid flooring, and those who did the finishing woodwork. Over the almost four past years, they have seen the progress from the work that they were asked to do. They worked with the Presbyterians, the United Church of Christ Disaster Relief Organization, Habitat for Humanity, and most recently with the St. Bernard Project. Each of these organizations have sought to provide not only the materials and the labor for rebuilding, but also the presence of compassion to listen to the stories of those who have stayed or returned to New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Bob who is a member of the First Congregational Church and is autistic wanted to go on the church's most recent mission trip to New Orleans. He is 41 years old, lives on his own in an apartment, buys his own groceries, and travels by himself around the country twice a month where he visits with friends and recycles aluminum cans and wire. He is rarely seen without a plastic bag carrying the cans he has crushed. There are some things about Bob that are annoying, or at least make some people uncomfortable. He has a need to hold a hand, to put his head on a person's shoulder, to touch one's arm frequently, and he has no awareness of "personal" space. In this article, the author describes what happened on their recent trip to New Orleans with Bob. Almost four years after Katrina, while they were seeking to help those who were hoping to move back into their homes, they were also learning what it means to be a community of faith with Bob. As they sought to reach out to the people in the St. Bernard Parish, they also moved along the path of reaching out to one of their own members. They were learning what it truly means to be an inclusive church where their faith and their actions can become congruent.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana