Haywood Street Congregation is a mission congregation in Asheville, NC that recognizes “Table” as its central metaphor. Those who eat and worship together at Haywood St. are individuals carrying all their worldly possessions in ragged backpacks as well as privileged professionals, stay-at-home moms, students and the working poor. The ministry is attracting new people to the church, especially those representing minority groups in the UMC in terms of race, ethnicity, age and class.
At altar table or dinner table, in the meeting room or around the picnic table, this diverse congregation is thriving in part because of its emphasis on authentic relationship and mutual service. On May 1st-3rd, Haywood Street will host a training event that offers an opportunity to experience the ministry and understand the organizational structure that provides order….while allowing room for the Spirit to move.
Experiential components include:
• Opportunity to participate alongside others involved with core programs such as the Downtown Welcome Table, Haywood Street Respite, God’s Outfitters Clothing Closet and Love & Fishes Bountiful Garden.
• A two mile walk* that traces a route known as “Asheville’s Invisible Box” – a path frequented by those living on the streets who often go unnoticed by busy professionals and tourists moving through downtown Asheville.
• Panel discussion including Q&A with Haywood Street companions.
*alternate activity available for those unable to walk
Plenary sessions and discussion groups focus on:
• Funding and sustainability
• Multi-cultural worship
• A relational approach to organizing volunteers (aka “companions”)
• The tension between mission and security
• Contextualized ministry planning
Get more information and register for “A Welcoming Table”.