Cleveland, Ohio (Madison)
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn. Isaiah 61:1-2
We have a good mix of families, singles, couples and kids. Most meetings average 12 - 15 members, and on special occasions have peaked out at 25 attending, which includes six very active kids. We meet every 2nd and 4th Friday evening at 7:30 P.M., always starting with praise and worship lead by 3 very talented guitar players, then we have a P.M. type teaching, followed by prayer/ministry, and ending with food and fellowship. Our 6 kids are a very active part of the praise time, and ending prayer time. They go off to another room for a Christian video, craft project or preparation/rehearsal for the next outreach. Our daily life includes regular contact with most members via morning mass, phone, or e-mail. We have a few members who live quite a distance and contact with them is not as frequent as we'd like. We also net-work with the St. Anthony Community often, such as weekly bible studies, and other events. We had our second summer picnic together and had a wonderful time in the Lord. Our pastor Fr. Sean Donnelly of Immaculate Conception Parish supports us 100% and has attended a meeting, and has given his approval of what we are doing. He said a special mass for us at our summer picnic on our parish grounds.
We began after I attended the last Bible Institute that Fr. Al Lauer attended, three years ago. I was impressed by the children of all the communities, and their love for the Lord, along with all the other powerful witness's and teachings I heard during those 9 days. Shelley & Rev. Mr. Ken Meade were instrumental in our formation, and still monitor/mentor us. Christian community was exactly what I was looking for to grow closer to Christ in a Catholic orthodox way.
Our outreach has just developed in the past 6 months, and we now are taking "old fashioned prayer meetings" into many of our local nursing homes. It's nothing more than an abreviated home-based community meeting, but it gives us a chance to evangelize the elderly and their families. A comment overheard after our last outreach was "I didn't know Catholics where like that". We put the "prayer meetings" on for everyone, and not just Catholics. We involve the residents with some old timey hymns, (our kids have made plastic shaker egg rythem instruments so the residents can join in with the music), we share some short scriptures, our kids do a little skit, and we close with prayers for all their intentions. This outreach fits our group to a tee, and has met with much enthusiasm. We enjoy the time as much as the elderly do. Our pastor is happy with what we are doing, and doesn't hesitate in calling on us to put on prayer services, and coming soon - bible studies. We are truly blessed to belong to such an open parish. We proclaim the benefits of community constantly, and our pastor said he'd like to see many communities in our parish. He has been a follower of Fr. Al's for many years, and approves of all of P.M.'s programs. How blessed we all are!!!
Community has been instrumental to me in bringing special people into our home for fellowship and growth in the Lord. My husband Don, has supported me all the way, and although at first he was very hesitant and I had to give up some other ministries in order to do this....it was well worth it. It is a lot of preparation and work, but once everyone is here, it is all well worth it. Community has given me much encouragement and love centered in Christ, and I thank Fr. Al, all of Presentation Ministries, and Shelley & Ken Meade for their good and holy influence. Praise Jesus!