By: Katie Gayle
The other day, I was making a quick stop to the Starbucks on the corner to get through the afternoon slump when I waved at the neighbor across the street from Wellspring. He is an older man and many of the staff have tried to start a conversation with him, but normally he has kept his distance. On this day, he returned my wave and we talked about the beautiful sunshine and the greatness of coffee to perk us up.
As I was walking back to the church, I saw that he had left his yard and was standing in front of our building. As I came towards him, I introduced myself and he wanted to hear all about the construction we were doing since he saw the dumpster in the parking lot. His name was Larry and he has lived in the home across from Wellspring for 70 years, since he was 7 years old! He has seen so much change in our neighborhood. He could tell me about when the church was built and even when the sanctuary was added on to the existing building. He has seen several different churches in our building and many different cars parked in front of his house!
I thanked him for being such a good neighbor and putting up with us on Sunday mornings. For many of our neighbors, Sundays between 9:00am-12:30pm are a stressful time. They have a hard time getting in and out of their driveways and they have to accommodate more people than they probably want to!
Hospitality is a concept I think a lot about and something that is commanded throughout Scripture (ex: Romans 12:13, 1 Peter 4:9). I spend quite a bit of time thinking about what is looks like to welcome people who come through our doors at Wellspring. Or how can I open my home and create space for people to connect and feel loved. Or how we experience the gracious hospitality of the Lord as we come to the communion table each week. These are all important aspects of hospitality, but showing hospitality can start even before people walk through the doors of our church. This means being considerate and caring to our immediate neighbors at Wellspring Englewood.
As you drive up on Sundays, think about parking on Quincy so you don’t have to park in front of someone’s house and possibly take up a spot for a neighbor’s car. You can also park at the Bank of the West on Broadway and Quincy or the Seventh Day Adventist Church at Lincoln and Radcliff to leave the neighborhoods more open. If you do park in the neighborhood, make sure you don’t block someone into their driveway (this happens more than you think!). As you walk to church, pick up trash and help to make the neighborhood more beautiful than it was. As you pass the houses, pray for our neighbors; pray that God would bless them, that he would show himself to them, that Wellspring would be a light to our neighbors, not a burden. May we show the hospitality of the Lord to the people living around our building, as we proclaim the hope of the Gospel.