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CCDA- "The Dinner Party"

If you have been to any conference, you know that the best connections happen outside of the formal  conference  activities.  The spontaneous meals, prayers in the hallways, and late night talks with old friends and new are the richness of the Christian Community Development Association.  Yesterday morning Mark Charles pointed out that “the American Church has bought into the false notion that relationships can be between organizations.  Organizations do not develop relationships, people do.”

There were several opportunities this week to remember that and perhaps my favorite moment was a “dinner party” that started with my friend Kevin from New Orleans saying, “let’s get together!” and me replying, “I’ll bring my team.”  Next thing I knew we each had invited about five people who then invited a couple more.  When we finally got everyone in the same place at the same time we noticed a few individuals standing around seemingly with no dinner plans so we roped them in too. 

By the time we got to the restaurant there were 20 of us and just as we sat down another friend texted and asked if he could join in with his family.  We pulled in another table and I sat down to the buzz of chatter as sisters and brothers shared who they were and what they were inspired by at the conference.  Some were speaking Spanish and others English with a southern accent and others with a Chicago accent.  We talked about our neighborhoods in the Dominican Republic, New Orleans, the Bay Area and Costa Mesa.  We listened to joys and struggles from churches in Memphis and Denver.  As I looked around the table my heart was full.  How grateful I am to see this picture of God’s Kingdom- His kids together encouraging one another and rejoicing in all the Father has done around our hemisphere.

Some of us cried recounting again the struggle it is to work across racial, socio-economic and theological lines.  We listened to accounts of foster kids who are so alone- their hearts angry and bitter.  The New Orleans team wore t-shirts printed with “STOP KILLING PEOPLE” as part of a campaign to stand against the violence in their city.  Our hearts broke for one another and the communities we represent.  Listening to one another and affirming the hard work seemed to put wind in our sails, encouraging us to keep on in the work of reconciliation and justice.  In hearing the good, we were reminded that it is worth it to get through the bad.

And some of the conversations provoked ideas for partnership and further mutual sharing in more formal settings in the future.  Who knows what all we will be able to trace back to this dinner party?

What have spontaneous moments in your life led to?


I totally agree with this article. Having a dinner party could be equally means as having a great time so the event like this is worth remembering for. - Michael Courouleau

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I love our world- the sights, noises, and flavors of it all. I've found the best way for me to make a difference globally is to be rooted and engaged in my community. Every day is 1 more adventure in loving God and loving my neighbor.