Coffee Hour

Before I came to Forest Hill I was never a big fan of “coffee hour” and I would find just about any excuse to avoid it. It always seemed a bit contrived to me, not to mention I’m an introvert who finds schmoozing a most challenging task. That’s pretty much changed now though, and I have to admit I rather delight in what is known in our congregation as Fellowship Time.  Since we’re a small community it’s rather hard to get lost in the crowd and believe me, no one’s left out for long – some of our members are extraordinarily gifted at inviting others into conversation, conversations that sometimes continue over lunch at a favorite restaurant or around our Table of Many Colors.  A typical Sunday has kids running around the courtyard while our youth are shooting baskets in the pre-school’s basketball hoop; a few souls picking produce in our garden – yumm, broccoli and cauliflower and carrots are ready even now; our nineties club sitting and chatting near the sliding glass doors so the rays of sun can keep them warm; Shannon, our student minister, and John Murphy, our resident math wizard, doing math problems at a table; and lively conversation filling the fellowship hall.  Hai stands near the window and watches, listens and smiles.

Hai is rather new to Forest Hill. Not quite sure how he found us, but oh so glad he did. Hai came to this country from Vietnam with his family when he was quite young. His mother is a Buddhist, his father an atheist, and Hai is a follower of Jesus. He brings a quiet wisdom, a knowing smile and a generous heart. He gifted me with a new bag for my laptop and he’s always looking out for our specially abled members or finding something that someone needs on the Internet for our otherwise non-computer savvy folk.  He’s very observant and keeps me in the loop about things I might not otherwise know, like how Joe burst out laughing and nearly fell out of his seat at a silly experience that was shared in Sunday school. Hai is waiting for my husband and I every Sunday when we arrive about 8:30; amazing considering the fact that he walks from his home and it takes him about 2 hours to get to Forest Hill.  He comes every week though, and sometimes he even joins us on Wednesday evenings for dinner and spiritual practice and choir.  Does such faithfulness produce the fruits of patience and generosity and compassion that we experience in him?  I know this, his love of Jesus shines in his life, his smile warms our hearts and his presence blesses us. Yes, I have come to love “coffee hour” and wouldn’t miss it now for the world.  With joy, Susan

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  1. Susan, what a gift your blog is to me! It reminds me of so many of the wonderful gifts that I received at Forest Hill and also helps me feel close and connected to the church family that I met there. I am so grateful for this little church in San Francisco with such a big heart – the place where, as an adult, I began to fall in love with church. Blessings, peace and so much love, Thandiwe

  2. Thandiwe, you don’t know what a mark you left on the hearts of Forest HIll folk. You may have begun to fall in love with church again at Forest Hill but you need to know that your presence brought joy, wisdom and love to this congregation and renewed their hope in God’s dream for this special place. Blessings on your ministry and your journey. Namaste.


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