Nancy Spear has been director of Immanuel’s Food Pantry for over 7 years. In that time, she has made many connections and been a faithful in helping Immanuel walk with those experiencing hunger. It is with a mixture of sadness and joy that we wish her well on the next stage of her life’s journey. Please join us on Sunday, March 30 at 12:30pm in the Food Pantry to celebrate Nancy’s ministry and wish her well!
Nancy Spear ha sido la directora del Banco de Comida de Immanuel por más de 7 años. En ese momento, ella ha hecho muchas conexiones y ha sido fiel en ayudar a Immanuel a caminar con los que padecen de hambre. Es con una mezcla de tristeza y alegría que deseamos lo mejor en la próxima etapa de su vida. ¡Por favor, únase a nosotros el domingo 30 de marzo a las 12:30pm en el Banco de Alimentos para celebrar el ministerio de Nancy y desearle lo mejor a ella!
Companion for The Journey
“Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” –Matthew 11:28-30 (NRSV)
This holiday season began with an unfortunate event…I was let go from my job. It seemed as if it were the end of the world. I was scared, nervous, and anxious. I could only keep asking myself, “What do I do now?”
I turned to my family and let them know and I even found some wonderful emotional and financial support. But I knew something was missing. After spending a couple weeks wallowing in my sorrow (so-to-speak) and while attending Sunday morning worship I remembered hearing about the Immanuel Food Pantry. I found Nancy Spear after the service and asked her when the Food Pantry was open. I then let her know that I would be coming in to volunteer and help out at the next opportunity.
That next Tuesday morning at the Food Pantry changed my life. It was as if my Spirit was reignited and charged full of life again. I had very quickly realized that I had not stepped foot in the Immanuel Food Pantry for the entire nearly 7 years I have been a member at IPC…and it was literally foot steps away every Sunday morning. That one experience flooded my heart and my thoughts with the internship I served in New York City at the Jan Hus Homeless Outreach Center. Names and faces, and many good relationships came to mind. Immanuel offers very similar relationships. In fact, Nancy Spear cares for the recipients at the food pantry as if they were her neighbors, friends, and even family; because they are.
Losing a job quickly reminds you of your very human-ness; such as not having health insurance or any income. The same Sunday I asked Nancy about the Food Pantry, I noticed that the Healing Center’s Parish Nurse, Brenda Cox was offering flu shots after the service. I get a flu shot every year, but this time I couldn’t go see my regular doctor for this seemingly simple procedure. Brenda not only offered me a flu shot, but she introduced me to the free services provided by the Parrish Nurse and her staff. I made an appointment then and there. When I showed up for my appointment, Kerry (one of the staff nurses) spoke with me. She joked with me and comforted me, and she even took time to learn about journey and family. And then when the check-up was over, she spoke more with me about what I can do to better my health and stay healthy, and offered me assistance in finding health care that I could afford or that was even free near my home. I left feeling as if they not only cared for my immediate concerns, but that they cared for my future health and wellbeing; because they do.
I have been spending my Tuesday’s hanging out at the church office working on some stuff I’m involved in outside of Immanuel. While there I spoke with Myra Tapia. She introduced me to her massage and energy therapy services at the Healing Center. I decided to make an appointment. I thought, “why not, I have the time.” I showed up the next week on time for my appointment with Myra. She welcomed me into a space that was warm and immediately relaxing. Myra invited me to sit down and we simply spoke about me. She asked about aches and pain, stress, and home and family. She informed me of what was going to happen and assured me that she was there to listen to me and to how my body responded to the massage. She then proceeded with the massage and almost too soon it was over. She cared for me by helping me sit up, she got me some water, and then we talked a little more. She asked me about the massage and helped me better understand what my body told her and what I can do to help myself. Myra took care of me as if she cared about my body and about my wellbeing; because she does.
There is a difference between resting after stressful work and then finding rest in Christ’s yoke (work). I was burdened with the yoke, or work of the world and now I was ready and I decided to explore the yoke of Christ. I did this by partaking in that yoke in its form at Immanuel. The Food Pantry, the Parish Nurse services, and the Healing Center are only a few ways in which Christ shared his yoke with me. You see volunteering at the Food Pantry takes a bit of work and energy, but that which you receive is the comfort of knowing you were involved in the work of Christ. Seeing the Parrish Nurse required me to step outside of my comfort zone, which is risky and scary at times. What I received from taking that step is care from people who were looking to send me on my way more knowledgeable and wise about caring about my physical body. And then visiting Myra and receiving a massage was more than just simply physical. Myra asked me to share with her about my pain so that she could help me work through it.
What I found in all three of these experiences was companionship on my journey. I found care and comfort. I found work that was meaningful because it is Christ’s work. This all fed my Spirit. I am changed and transformed forever by what was provided by these kind and warm friends at Immanuel Presbyterian Church. When I let go of the painful burden I was carrying and took on the yoke of Christ through Immanuel, I penetrated the very heart of Immanuel and its people. I encourage all, whatever your journey looks like, to check out any of these experiences for yourself and learn what companionship can and does look like.
Wonderfully Cared For,
Brian S. Symonds
The food delivery was late, but many many thanks to those who helped unload and sort the food last Sunday! From children Naomi and Emma, to the energetic youth group organized by Launa, to many congregation members – both English and Spanish – and to regular pantry volunteers from the community, everyone worked together to accomplish our task. We filled more than 30 crates of canned food and 3 barrels with pasta, cereal, etc.
Thanks to Bel Air Presbyterian Church, also, for collecting so much food, which just seems to be more every year. We appreciate our long-time partnership in bringing food to hungry people in our community.
~Nancy Spear, Food Pantry Director
¡La entrega de comida estaba atrasada, pero muchas gracias aquellos que ayudaron a descargar y aguardar la comida el pasado domingo! De Naomi y Emma al energético grupo de jóvenes organizado por Launa, a los varios miembros de la congregación – ingles y español – y los regulares voluntarios de la despensa de la comunidad, todos trabajaron juntos para realizar nuestra meta. Llenamos más de 30 cajas de comida y 3 barriles con pasta, cereales, etc.
Gracias también a la Iglesia Presbiteriana Bel Air por colectar tanta comida, la cual aumenta cada año. Agradecemos nuestra asociación de mucho tiempo por traer comida a personas que tienen hambre en nuestra comunidad.
~Nancy Spear, Directora de la Despensa de Alimento
Sunday, February 19
following the services in Room 201
An ongoing conversation facilitated by Nancy Spear dedicated to raising awareness of the intersection of hunger and faith responses. All are welcome.
Immanuelites Rod Sprott, Brian Symonds, Matthias Peterson-Brandt, Nancy Spear and Ed Murray eating to end hunger at this annual fund-raiser for Hope-Net, a sponsor of our Food Pantry. Also partaking were Jeanne & Larry Ortiz, Hayward Fong, Lucy Lentz and Leticia Ocampo. Photos courtesy of Brian Symonds. Click on an image for a larger view.
by Nancy Spear, Food Pantry Director
After attending a symposium this week on ending homelessness, I’m having second thoughts. I’ve decided I’m NOT in favor of ENDING HOMELESSNESS! Now HUNGER is a different story, and YES I am in favor of ENDING HUNGER! I think it’s because we always need to eat and food is not always available(though it’s actually more available than one may be aware of) while yes we need to sleep but it’s OK to sleep outside or in a car if you want to. And so what follows is that HOMELESSNESS is not an all-inclusive category and some people really want and choose to be homeless while others are forced out of their homes unwillingly by losing jobs or not finding work, health problems, foreclosure on their homes, family relationship problems, war trauma and mental health issues, etc.
The common answer to those who ask how to eliminate homelessness is jobs and money. Put more money into creating programs to develop jobs and train people for these jobs.
Well I disagree! Of course all that is necessary and jobs definitely help those forced onto the streets. But I think answers for all of us, especially those who are tired of struggling with ‘the system’, are FIRST to see ALL people as our brothers and sisters no different from ourselves(all children of God as the Rabbi’s opening prayer at the symposium reflected) and SECOND to want to connect and know all those who cross our paths whoever they are, walking together if only in the present moment. Knowing the truth of the Other and walking together to address it.
In the context of relationship, things can be much simpler than we think.
This is building beloved communities of God. Everyone is welcome and together we work on how the ‘system’ can adjust itself in each individual case so that all persons can live a good life, realizing their unique gifts of life and helping to bring God’s Kingdom to come “on earth as it is in heaven”.
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para Nancy Spear, Directora de la Despensa de Alimento
Después de asistiendo un simposio esta semana en terminando homelessnes, estoy teniendo segundos pensamientos. ¡Estoy decidida que NO estoy a favor de TERMINAR HOMELESSNES! ¡Ahora HAMBRE es una historia diferente, y SI estoy a favor de TERMINAR HAMBRE! Lo pienso debido a que siempre necesitamos comer y comida no siempre esta disponible (aunque si es mas disponible que estamos consientes) aunque si necesitamos dormir, pero PUEDE dormir afuera o en un carro. Así que lo que sigue es que HOMELESSNESS no es una categoría toda inclusivamente y algunas personas quieren y deciden ser homeless, mientras que otros son obligados de su casa involuntariamente causado por la perdida de trabajo o no poder encontrar trabajo, problemas de salud, hipotecaria de sus casas, problemas entre familia, trauma de guerra y problemas mentales, etc.
La respuesta común para aquellos que preguntan como eliminar homelessness es dinero y trabajos. Pongan mas dinero en creando programas para crear trabajos y entrenar personas para estos trabajos.
¡Pues, yo no estoy de acuerdo! Por supuesto todo eso es necesario y trabajos ayudan aquellos que son forzados a la calle. Pero creo que respuestas para todos nosotros, especialmente por aquellos que están cansados de batallar contra el sistema, es PRIMERO a ver que TODA la gente como nuestros hermanos y hermanos que no son diferente de nosotros (todos hijos/as de Dios y como la inicial oración del Rabí durante el simposio reflecto) y SEGUNDO a querer a conectar y conocer todos aquellos quien cruzan nuestros caminos, caminando juntos, si solamente en el presente momento. Reconociendo la verdad del Otro y caminando juntos para dirigirlo. En el contexto de la relación, las cosas pueden ser más simples que pensamos.
Esto esta creando queridas comunidades de Dios. Todos son bienvenidos y juntos trabajamos en como “la sistema” puede ajustarse a cada individuo caso para que toda la gente puede vivir una buena vida, realizando sus dones únicos de vida y ayudando traer el cielo de Dios a venir “a la tierra como esta en el cielo.”