“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers” (Hebrews 13:2).
What did Samuel and the Samaritans have in common? They practiced radical hospitality (1 Samuel 9:22/John 4:40). What teaching did Peter and Paul have in common? They taught Christ's disciples to practice radical hospitality (1 Peter 4:9/Romans 12:13).
Before I began my pastoral duties at Kemble Memorial United Methodist Church, Sherron Laurrell wrote a fine article introducing my family and me to the Kemble Church family. During the interview, Sherron asked me, “What can the members of Kemble do to make you, Pamela and your daughters feel welcome quickly?” I expressed my hope that Kemble members would invite us into their hearts and homes.
The early Apostles encouraged the churches to “practice hospitality." The word hospitality means “strange love.” The directive is to be loving and kind to strangers. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). My family and I welcome this spiritual gift of hospitality from the Kemble Church family, and it is inspiring to know that the practice of this spiritual gift, radical hospitality, is not limited to the Harriotts.
Kemble Church members’ hearts and homes are open to others. I have seen first-hand the time, talents and treasures you give to provide a safety net for needy families, the homeless, the poor and the destitute. Jesus teaches that the mark of true disciples is love. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Hospitality is love in action. Hospitality is welcoming the stranger. Hospitality is opening your hearts and homes to others, sharing with God’s people, and creating new places for new people.
Many thanks to John Sooy, Mary Jane Warfle, and Norma Warren who will open their hearts and homes to host the Advent of the Savior Bible Study "All I Want For Christmas." Each person has agreed to welcome ten Kemble members and friends into their homes this Advent: November 28, and December 5, 12, and 19th. Many thanks to Carol DeLucas, Donna Lightcap, and Robyn Austin and Donna Catando who will serve as facilitators for the Advent Study. Kemble members will practice radical hospitality this Advent as we break-bread and study God's word together.
An in-church sign-up process begins on November 12th. Each member will have the opportunity to choose the home he or she would like to attend for the Advent of the Savior Bible Study (John's, Mary Jane's, or Norma's). Once you make your choice, each member is expected to attend the four sessions at the same home with the same group. Switching from home to home is discouraged.
Early online or phone sign-up is available for the Advent of the Savior Bible Study. You can reserve your place at one of the homes by calling the church office at 856-845-1627, or by sign-up online at www.kembleumc.org. Kemble Church members' hearts and homes are open to all.
The children of the Kingdom will hear the Lord say, “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). We represent Christ when we practice radical hospitality.