Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Weaving Our Safety Net

by Andrea Laser

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local food bank during a distribution night.  It was an awesome blessing to help, even if it was in a very small way.  What struck me as being so remarkable about this food bank was that before the distribution began, there was a small church service, with a local musician playing different hymns and songs for a few people who gathered there.  Probably only about ten people were in attendance for the service, but Jesus reminds us that, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew, 18:20 NIV).  

This experience made me think about how different people “do” church.  Growing up, my family was not consistently active in a church, but my Grandma Dottie was always an extremely faith-based, religious woman.  She “did” church every Sunday, in the comfort of her own home.  Her church of choice was the Hour of Power television show with Dr. Robert Schuller.   Whenever my brother and I would spend a weekend there, part of the routine on Sunday morning was my grandfather made his secret recipe French toast, and my grandmother and I sat in what seemed to be giant recliners, and watched Dr. Schuller; eating on tray tables in front of their television.  To be perfectly honest, I was somewhat indifferent to the show.  The guest choirs were interesting to watch, but the message always seemed so distant from my life.  The pieces of Christianity that stuck with me because of my grandmother were the moments she spent telling me about how much God loved me and how he created us to be His light in the world.     

As I think about it now, the message of God’s love and promise on Hour of Power was similar to BUMC, but what was missing was the sense of community and personal relationships I feel is so prevalent at BUMC.  This sense of community at BUMC is part of what makes our Sunday church experience relevant and a priority in our lives.  

Building community has been on my heart for several years; as a teacher and parent I believe that healthy, successful children (and adults) are products of supportive communities.  A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to see Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone ( speak about his philosophy on community and education.  He is truly an inspiring man who wants to create a better future for the children whom he serves.  He spoke about his idea of strengthening community, described by The New York Times as it, “combines educational, social and medical services. It starts at birth and follows children to college. It meshes those services into an interlocking web, and then it drops that web over an entire neighborhood….The objective is to create a safety net woven so tightly that children in the neighborhood just can’t slip through.” 

This image of a tightly woven safety net made me think about the services and support our church provides, and the possibility of every member of our congregation and greater community feeling so supported that they could not slip through our safety net. 

I believe as a church community, we have the resources and the intention.  

We have to continue to use and grow both by building community through servant ministry, and continue developing critical relationships through small groups. 

How does BUMC provide a sense of community for you and your family?  Please share in the comments below.


Andrea Laser is an Early Childhood Special Educator, as well as mom to Paxton, 5, and Wyatt, 16 months.  She and her husband Steve have been members at BUMC since 2009.  They are active members of the First Friday group, and Andrea leads the Blog Team at BUMC.  To contact Andrea, or if you are interested in writing for the BUMC Blog, please email her at

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