Megan Blackmer, or Meggie as I call her (she calls me Mikey and is one of the few people I ever let call me that), reflects on her time serving the needs of adults with mild to moderate psychological disorders at Comprehend, a hang out spot for people with those needs in Vanceberg, KY. She also muses on our experience of ecumenism as we went to a worship service at a Pentecostal church with our farm managers Walter and Abby.

My colleague Ed Koch (pronounced KO) had served at Glenmary as a farm manager for short time and was known to the Mosby Pentecostal Community. He was hoping that they’d sing his favorite song that he remembered from his time here. He even got up to sing along.

Some takeaways for me: I was quite impressed with our new friends at the Pentecostal church. Pastor Rick came to each person before the service and greeted them and each person in the congregation did the same for the most part. As we left, every single person came over and gave all of the students and Ed and I a hug good bye. They warmly invited us back and we extended the invitation to them as well to come visit us if they are ever in Buffalo. Do we ever give our own visitors and even our regular parishioners that kind of welcome? How do we treat other Christians? Have we gone to see how they worship? Invited them to share an experience with us? I found their personal prayers to be very sincere, giving God their struggles and concerns–many of which were quite serious.

The following day, Pastor Rick joined some of our group at the construction site, working alongside our number. One student, Vineet, was quite touched by the experience of seeing him working with the guys. “He was working harder than everyone else and he made everyone feel valued and welcomed.” His hospitality really moved us and we all felt so comfortable with him and his church.

While one group was at construction, another was at Licking Valley Senior Center where we bagged groceries for pick up and distributed them the following day. Here’s some of us in action:

And then at the end of the day Maggie, a UB first year undergrad, offered her reflection on the day:

A bunch more to go. A great reflective week. For me personally, I really enjoyed working bagging groceries. It’s kind of mindless work, but at the same time it was very satisfying. I made friends with a client who came over to make small talk. He talked of fishing and the weather and began to help us load groceries into bags and move them into the next room. It was a source of pride for him to help when he was also receiving so much from the center. He was graceful in his humble way and made us all put a human face on the experience. Today I offer some prayers for him and his family that there are better times ahead in 2012.