Monday, June 27, 2005

The hotdog Church

I should be blogging about JavaOne, since that is my reason for coming here to San Francisco, but it may be more appropriate to mention one of the Lord's reasons for bringing me here ... plenty of other folks are blogging about JavaOne.

Providence Care Ministry is the in the heart of SanFrancisco's tenderloin district, and it targets outreach to some of the poorer folks who live there by serving food after each Sunday service. Apparently, one day, an invitee asked, "Where?", and the inviter answered, "You know ... the hotdog Church", and the name must have stuck.

Despite the neighborhood, the congregation was extremely friendly and their new location was very clean and well kept. Their web site said that prayer started at 8:30 am, but the Associate Pastor, Eric, kindly let me in at that time anyway, and noted that the website just needed to be updated.

Instead of prayer we had a great chat about the Church, and how it has shifted locations around the tenderloin district over the past few years. I mentioned that a lady named Crystal had mentioned the church to me on my flight to San Francisco. She was on the plane planning a discussion for a women's retreat with her church, and I told her that when I saw her carrying a large bible onto the plane, it reminded me of a video which I linked to a while back.

Eric was quite a motivating speaker, and made a great introduction to worship. He loves the folks in his congregation, and they love him. He has what I'd call, God-given street smarts. It cannot go without mentioning that God had me meeting Eric at the Hotdog church on the same day as another well publicized event with lots of media coverage, which was set to commence as soon as our service let out at noon. The parade was to be conducted right along the edge of the tenderloin district only two blocks from us, between the Church service and my hotel room. So, yes, I had to avert my eyes as I went back to my room after the service. Eric was careful to note that God's Church does not go in with the "God hates fags" banners which also show up at such events. He said that they greet homosexuals just the same as any other person who comes to their Church, that is, with love, admonishment, and the offer of Christ's free gift.

Later, the Hotdog Church made the mistake of inviting me to play the ukulele, and were even kind enough to clap to the rhythm of one of the songs I was having trouble with.

No spoilers here about their senior Pastor, suffice to say that he brought me to tears several times, loves the people that attend his sermons, and God is with him.