Published On: Mon, Feb 25th, 2019

CommUNITY Champions Practicing What They Preach

The spiritual works of compassion/mercy – especially teaching the faith and putting up with the annoyances of others – are very important.

But it is about time that more leaders of our local houses of worship examine their conscience to see if they are practicing the things they preach.

While visiting a local park recently, I went over to speak with a man and woman seated on a bench.

I soon learned that they were homeless and that parishioners from Cason United Methodist Church, under the leadership of the Rev. Alexis Talbott, had just dropped off their freshly-washed clothes, a weekly ritual of the members of the Delray Beach church.

We had a long conversation during which I learned a lot about the life journeys of both.

Only a few weeks later while driving through the neighborhood, I noticed Live Fresh, a 29.5 foot-long mobile shower, in use on a vacant lot.

There, several members of Cason and St. Matthews Episcopal Church were on hand volunteering their time.

The air-conditioned trailer, which has private showers and changing area combination rooms, stops at the lot each Friday to help and restore dignity to the county’s homeless.

Cason, St. Matthews and neighboring Resurrection Life Fellowship became the new sites for a soup kitchen after the city ended a 20-year agreement with the Caring Kitchen, which served hot meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner at a city-owned building at 196 NW Eighth Ave.

The city stopped officials with the Caring Kitchen after neighbors complained of public defecation, fights and people sleeping in yards near the city-owned building.

Now, this is not to say other churches are not doing great or remarkable things. However, most of them are doing it among themselves only.

I was further impressed when Cason provided transportation to KOP Mentoring Network after the transmission in the 20-year-old van died, leaving students stranded on the interstate while on their way to a class in West Palm Beach one night.

I reached out to several local churches to use their vans following the November incident and one agreed to transport them for $150 per trip. Another nodded yes. One issue: the van had no insurance although they had been transporting parishioners.

Rev. Talbott offered her van, which saved the year for the students. Each Thursday they travel to West Palm Beach where they are learning digital media at the Center for Creative Education.

As I was about to give in to despair, one of my peers quickly intervened.  She encouraged me to join together and ask the Lord to raise up a generation of pastors who will lead this community with integrity, compassion, godly vision and Christlike character.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Rev. Talbott shortly after she took over a few years ago and she shared her vision for the church and the community.

She has a big and bold vision for Cason, she loves the youth of the community and she has embraced this community.

Here is a leader who has been working in and outside the church to bring needed messages to the community, to bring hope and to make a change. Her commitment was birthed out of her love for God.

In my humble opinion, Rev. Alexis Talbott is committed in her dedication to spiritual practices -daily acts of Scripture reading, instructing the ignorant, devotion, Christian meditation, community service and, of course, prayer.

 

We want to hear from you. If you know of a church that has been providing extraordinary service outside the church, please let us know.

  1. Ron Allen can be reached at 561-665-0151 or crallen@Delraybeachtribune.com.

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