In the “Prayers of the People” every Sunday we pray for our Open Table Brother. What’s that all about?
The Open Table is a ministry designed to help individuals make the transition from where they are to a more productive life. There are OpenTable (OT) groups in many parts of the country, usually sponsored by churches. For St. John’s, this is a joint ministry with members from St. John’s and Hopevale. Our members are the Rev. Pam Renna, Melanie Holman, Ellen Redfield and Sue Smith.
Frequently OT takes on a young person who has aged out of foster care or comes from a problematic family situation. (To protect privacy, the Brother or Sister is not referred to by name.) These people may not be prepared for adulthood. As a group, Open Table members help the individual acquire the skills to become independent. As our brother has worked with various Table members, his self-confidence has increased. After practicing with a Table member, he passed the test for his driver’s license. He has gotten four scholarships to Delta, (one of which allowed him to buy a car for transport to school) and a computer. He has set up his class schedule and bought his books. He is taking initiative and responsibility for meeting his goals.
Open Table Members contribute their own money for training and commit to a year of meeting for one hour a week with the Brother or Sister, as well as other time as needed. Each Table member takes the lead in some aspect of daily life: education, health, transportation, etc.
Working with our Brother for a year gives us time to build long-term relationships. It also provides a variety of role models which may be lacking in his life. What we all gain from this is a better understanding of what someone else needs to accomplish on his journey to adulthood.
New Tables are forming regularly in our area. If you are interested in this ministry, contact Rev. Pam (989/798-0229). You can make a significant difference in one person’s life.