Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

This week for our Hello Friends we wanted to share with you an article from the Statesman Journal on City Vibe and West Salem Foursquare Church. I love seeing our church family sharing the love of Christ to each other and the community. Are you stopping during the business to bless someone else? What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Have you taken a few moments to pray and write down how God’s providing for you, your life and your family?

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.”
Psalm 95:1-6 (KJV)

Let us continue to be giving not only this season but beyond…

It may be the “season” of giving, but the need for nourishment is not a seasonal one.

Organizers of “Dinner on the Green” realize this. That’s why the West Salem-based weekly outreach has taken place consistently since the summer.

“Dinner on the Green is growing very fast. We have between 60 to 130 people come every Friday night,” said organizer Craig Oviatt, a Dream Center director and outreach pastor from West Salem’s Foursquare Church.

“The food is provided by people from all over, including one restaurant — Alcyone — which also provides food throughout the week.”

Formulated through a partnership with City Vibe/Soma Church and the YWCA, Dinner on the Green started on the greenway path along Edgewater Street NW, hence the name. As weather conditions grew colder and wetter, the gathering moved inside Soma right across the street at 735 Edgewater.

“What makes this dinner different is it’s open to everyone,” Oviatt said. “We have a large number of homeless people, families living in Edgewater (neighborhood) and beyond. We don’t serve —we join. Dinner on the Green is about relationships. We get to know the people who come, we build relationships and it’s then that we are able to provide real help to those who want help.”

Since its July inception, Dinner on the Green has helped seven people get off the street. It’s helped people get jobs or into needed programs and to feel a degree of self respect.

“Dinner on the Green isn’t just a dinner, although the food is amazing,” Oviatt said. “On a given Friday night you will see a mix of people from all walks of life sitting down together, talking, eating, playing board games and blending together in one community.

“You will hear a sitting judge talking with a man who has been homeless for 27 years, both laughing and engaged in deep conversation,” he added. “You will see a housewife sitting down eating and listening to a family who are struggling to stay in their apartments, and watch as a homeless couple join in the conversation providing empathy and hope.”

This Thursday the partnership will host and attend “Holiday on the Green Thanksgiving Dinner,” 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., presenting a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Also under way is a project to obtain 1,000 pairs of quality wool socks that will be distributed to the homeless community on Thanksgiving. A number of local businesses have joined the quest.

“When I go into homeless camps, the first thing I’m asked for is socks; second is food,” Oviatt said.

From that input evolved a companion project “Wool and Granola.”

“I take wool socks and roll them up, placing a couple of ‘soft’ granola bars inside,” Oviatt said. “When I see a homeless person on a corner flying their sign, I throw them the socks. It’s becoming a West Salem Foursquare tradition, and more and more families are doing the same.”

Statesman Journal: November 24 or (503) 399-6736
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