On Saturday, March 26, 20 people from Nardin Park attended the annual Cass Community Social Services fund-raising dinner at the Inn of St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan. Since we never had attended this event as a church it was fantastic to reserve two tables of ten and then to fill them for a very special evening. Some of us drove seperately, but some of us also decided to take the church van. Tom Tobe volunteered to drive us and we all clamored into the vehicle like a bunch of teenagers going on a field trip!
It was the first time that I had ridden in the van. I’ve seen the outside of the van and I must admit it looks worse for wear. There are several rust spots all over the body and it is embarrassing to see the Nardin Park name plastered on the side of our mobile eye sore. Fortunately, the inside of the van is quite nice and it runs very well. Although the van is many years old, the total mileage is a little over 70,000. As we began our drive it was humorous to see that a roll of duct tape was placed next to the doors. It seems that when the van reaches a certain speed, the passenger doors have to be duct-taped shut so they won’t accidentally open!
Upon our arrival we entered a building that once housed the St. John Catholic Seminary, a beautifully re-designed building that now serves as a hotel, banquet hall and conference site. We joined with over 300 other attendees. After checking in we roamed the reception area looking at the objects that were up for bid at the silent auction. Some of us spotted a coveted item or two. I wonder if Mike Brekenridge successfully bid on that tool belt. Susan and I managed to outbid some others for two pieces of art that are now hanging in our home.
The meal was great. At $100 a plate it was miraculous that we could enjoy an excellent repast and still raise money for Cass. After the meal we were entertained by “The Ambassadors,” a male singing group consisting entirely of homeless men. The emcee for the event was Huel Perkins of FOX TV news. Awards were given out to the “Employee of the Year”, the “Volunteer of the Year” and the “Church of the Year.” What an incredible delight it was to hear the name of our Judy Blaney called out as the “Volunteer of the Year.” She goes to Cass every Thursday to help out with data entry. Her faithfulness and her effectiveness was recognized and we were excited for her. It was also fun to know that she received this recognition on her birthday!
The Rev. Faith Fowler, Executive Director of CCSS, was the main speaker and can she ever bring a message! Immediately after she spoke, there was an invitation for additional funds and hands shot up all over the hall, raising even more money for this invaluable ministry. The excitement and the enthusiasm that was in that room was extraordinary. To experience all of the ministries that CCSS provides for the city of Detroit is incredible. And at the end of the day, that’s what it is all about. Faith Fowler and CCSS have a dream for the disenfranchised and marginalized people of Detroit, and with the help of people like us we are making their dreams evolve into reality. It was a great night for a great ministry!
Somehow, in my mind I can see us continuing to put duct tape and dinners and dreams together again and again and again, not only for Cass, for all of our ministries at Nardin Park. There are so many needs. We can do whatever we feel God is calling us to do. What a powerful resource we are for the Kingdom of God!