“Whoa. That was awesome!”

Dear Fremont Family:

Last night we hosted the Beaumont Middle School choirs (in conjunction with the Alameda Songbirds) in our sanctuary for their Winter Concert. Oh my goodness, what a crowd! I need to thank Rebecca Kenney and Charlie Collier especially for their help as neighbors, parents and grandparents kept pouring in. By the time the concert began, we had a packed house that spilled out into the Narthex (lobby). We used every chair we could find. Including the 120+ middle schoolers who were waiting in their “green rooms” (our back rooms and entryway area), I think we had nearly 400 people join us for the evening!

And while capacity was definitely an issue, people were overjoyed. No one complained. Everyone made room for more people. Children sat in parent’s laps, elderly were given a chair as others yielded their place. At the end of the evening when the concert was over and everyone was patiently making their way to the sanctuary exit, I stood at the door to the outside with the Beaumont Principal, Dr. Harriette Vigmenon. Together, we marveled at the people as they kept coming.

As people left, many of them thanked us (Fremont) for hosting them. One woman said, “Thank you for hosting,” and I remarked back, “what a crowd.” She said, “I think people are hungry for this.” Her comment has stayed with me. What are people hungry for? To gather? To see their children perform? No. It seemed to me that she was speaking about more than the chance to see their children sing. It seemed to me that she was speaking about community. The neighborhood had come together. We had delighted and shared and experienced an evening together. It was a powerful thing.

And, of course, it got me thinking even more. What else would people come together for? How might Fremont enable more such occasions? What is our role in hosting neighborhood events and creating community? Honestly, it was awesome. As we prepare for Christmas Eve, I am hopeful that some who wandered in last night for a middle school Winter Concert might just come back to see what kind of spiritual community we are. But, if not, we were still excellent hosts.

I am proud of our place in the neighborhood, and I am proud of our willingness to open our doors to others. I am humbled at the gratitude people expressed for such a simple act, and I am hopeful that God will do more in us yet.

If you would like to see the concert, Charlie live-streamed it to our Fremont Facebook page. Check it out!

Let’s do it again, and I’ll see you on Sunday.

Grace and peace,