09 Dec Adorno Gymnasium Coffee Break in the Undercroft
For months, I have been wanting to invite the young people who congregate on our stairs at the main entrance to the church into the Undercroft. Months ago, I made the decision to befriend them instead of being upset about the rubbish and cigarette butts on the stairs. Since then I have slowly been building a rapport with them. I asked them a few weeks ago if they would like it if I make hot drinks for them when it starts getting really cold. They loved the idea.
Today was the day. I made coffee, hot chocolate, and tea and got some pretzels and donuts holes from the bakery. During the first break, only a few came because it was so cold outside. Nevertheless, what happened was nothing short of amazing. One of the young women came in and sat quietly in the last pew before going downstairs. I could see that she was crying. After the others had left and I was going out the front door, she was still sitting there.
Her first question was:
“Why are you doing this for us?”
“I am a father and I feel for all of you when I see you standing out in the cold. Our church is heated so why should we not open it up to you since you are here regularly?”
She proceeded to share her life and pain with me. Five years ago, she lost her grandmother. Her grandma was the one who took her to church and with the death of the grandmother, it seemed like her connection to God was gone. She told me that today was the first time in a long time that she sat in a church and could feel her emotions and think clearly. again after a long, difficult period. We talked about faith and how God helps us get through the hard times of our lives. This encounter, along with the story of the young man who attended our online service with his non-believing parents, was such a strong confirmation that providing a safe space for these youth who are literally at our doorstep every single school day, is a good thing.
I will continue to do this on Fridays and wish I could do it more often. For that I would need help. If you are interested in helping me provide this safe space to young people, please let me know.