Metro Baptish Church Partnership Report: January 2019


Tabernacle has worked in partnership with Metro Baptist Church, 410 West 40th St. New York New York for more than 25 years. We have provided leadership for their summer camps, sent them interns and staff members, cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas meals with them, hosted their youth retreat and assisted in the 9th Ave Food Festival to help their youth raise funds for Passport Camp.

For our first Metro trip in 2018 Nathan Hatfield, Terry Witt, Emily Witt and Kathryn Hall assisted with cooking for the 9th Ave Food Festival. They traveled to NYC on May 4-6 to cook with the teens before the food festival. The Teen Center youth attend Passport Camp in the summer and make a large amount of their camp money at this event.

In 2018 we partnered with Jenny Hodge of Churchland Baptist in Chesapeake, Va. to provide leadership for the fifth week of Clue Camp July 28-August 4. This year our team consisted of teens Monica Iang, Raquel Turner, Kekoa Burgess, Kanoa Burgess, Emily Painter, Preston Lowery, K’paw Mu Htoo and Brynne Severns, to help the adults, Sarah Anne Burgess, Emily Witt, Terry Witt, Bridget Fulks, Bonnie Dance and Tony Williams lead camp. Dylan Burgess, Meg Lacy and Nathan Hatfield joined us for our last two days in New York City. This was the first time in many years that this many teens have helped lead Clue Camp. They were awesome.

The week of November 19-23 a group from Tabernacle worked with volunteers from Metro, the Metro community and the First Baptist Church of Elkin, NC to cook a Thanksgiving meal for over 250 people. We cooked 18 20 LB turkeys, green beans, sweet potato casserole, cheese muffins, gravy, so much gravy, and dressing. The team consisted of Judy Fiske, Nathan Hatfield, Terry Witt, Bonnie Bailey and Zoe Jamerson. They worked hard as I ended up in bed all day on Thanksgiving with a fever and sore throat! A team returned December 20-22 to help cook the turkeys for the Christmas Day meal. This team was led by Jessica Corbitt and consisted of Hope, Chris, Emma and CJ Nycum, Jessica and Millie Corbitt, Maria and David McGraw, Mark and Parker Snipes and Ashley and Jay Fullerton. This team cooked about 300 lbs. of turkey and 4 apple cobblers to help prepare for the December 25th meal.

Tabernacle continued in 2018 to participate in helping to fund a position for a missionary at Metro through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Lesley-Ann Hix Tommey currently fills this position. In 2018 we also paid for the turkeys for their Thanksgiving meal as well as cooking them!

This year we will again travel in May to assist with Food Festival, lead the sixth week of Clue Camp and cook at Thanksgiving and Christmas again. Plan to join in on one of these trips or make a donation to help someone else attend. None of these mission trips are included in the church budget. These activities are funded by the participants, fund raisers and donations. If you want to make donations to help with the expenses of these mission trips—gas, tolls, materials for camps and meals for Metro programs you may make a donation to the Metro Mission Trip Savings Account, 100-320.550 These funds are used only for these expenses. People who participate in these trips pay for all of their food, make a donation to Metro for housing and cover all of their entertainment costs, no donated funds are used for personal expenses in NYC.

Dates for 2019:
9th Ave Food Festival: May 18-19—-leave on May 16, return on May 19 or 20. (tentative)
Clue Camp: August 3- August 10
Thanksgiving: November 24-29
Christmas: December 19-21

Members on Mission: Mark Snipes – Metro NYC Christmas Lunch

16 Turkeys–That’s A Lot of Bird!

Over the course of 48 hours, eight members from Tabernacle traveled to Metro Baptist, in New York City, to prepare a Christmas lunch for over 300 New Yorkers.

One evening, as I was waiting for three of the turkeys to finish cooking, I sat down with one of the pastors of Metro and asked about the people who would be eating this meal. Pastor Megan said that this was her third time being a part of this meal and she has learned two important lessons about those the church serves: 1. Each person has a unique story; and 2. When you sit and listen, you learn that those you serve have a deep, rich understanding of God.

Pastor Megan went on to say that those who will eat this meal are an assorted group of people. From veterans, some struggling with PTSD and others just unable to reengage with normal society, to people who have made some very bad decisions in life, to those who have just had some hard breaks. Others are people who have recently lost jobs and others who have been disowned from their family for lifestyle choices. Some have been poor for a long time (generations, even) and others are just temporarily in this position.  

As I sat on the church van on the way back to Richmond, I began to think about the people who would eat a part of one of those 16 turkeys. Perhaps somehow we were connected. Though we may never meet, the cooks and the diners have a common experience through a meal. In a very sacred way, we have broken bread together.

I do wish that I could have sat and eaten with some of the diners. Remembering my conversation with pastor Megan, I wonder what I would have learned about God?

I live in a world where I, and most of those I have chosen to live life with, have little to no idea what it is like to be poor or marginalized. My tribe is often middle class Americans who live in adequate homes, eat three meals a day, have never been incarcerated and, though addiction affects all of us in one way or another, live lives where addiction does not control us.

I wonder what I could have discovered about God from those who are aware of their need for God’s provision daily, from those who know what it means to be hungry, in need and even oppressed?

When I approach scripture, I acknowledge that these texts were written to groups of people who knew what it meant to be marginalized, to be poor. I wonder, then, how those who have this similar experience today relate differently to scripture from me? Do they have life experiences that I am missing that give them a more keen insight to God?

Most of my life I have looked for mentors who are well-educated, successful people. Perhaps it is time that I pass the microphone to those who have different experiences, seeking to learn from those who have traveled down different avenues of the Kingdom hoping that our understanding of God is shaped in ways that I never thought possible.   

May God bless and continue to enrich the lives of all those who accept turkey meals, and may God open the ears and hearts of all the cooks.