Third Annual Hummus Open Golf Tournament

hummusGet ready to compete for the coveted beige blazer in The Third Annual Hummus Open Golf Tournament to be held at the Mainland Golf Course on Saturday, November 10, 2012 starting at 11 AM. The entrance fee is $50. The tournament benefits The King’s Jubilee. There will be a new trophy this year. You don’t need to be a great golfer to have a good time in this event. It’s about having fun, enjoying friends, and supporting a good cause.

Contact Jerry Burke for more information or to register: GIJerry25@comcast.net

“It’s always good to have an intention.”

damaged headstonesWe finally made it to a clean-up day at Mount Moriah Cemetery on Saturday. I left my house at 6am to load John Haggerty’s pick up with a load of furniture from Myron Starinshak’s estate to deliver to a couple of the men who have moved off of the street into an apartment, Anthony McNeil and Gregory Henderson. I delivered that to their place near Broad & Allegheny.  They joined me and we continued down to 6201 Kingsessing Ave., the Philadelphia side of Mount Moriah Cemetery. We arrived at the Cemetery a little after 8am. Hal Smith was already there and working. So we had a foursome representing The King’s Jubilee. We cut up saplings into more manageable pieces to load onto the trailers and trucks after they had been cut down by chainsaws. We yanked tall weeds and weedy shrubs. Tony got going with the scythe. He was working his way up the hill as fast or faster with that than the guy with the weed whacker was working his way down the hill.

Suicide Hill
“Suicide Hill” – This is now cleared of bramble and vines. The obelisk is clean and there is a road up the hill.

Hal stayed for the whole five hours. He’s still a young buck. I was exhausted and we packed up and left at about 12:30. I have aches where I didn’t know I have muscles. Tony was looking for Ben-Gay and worried about his legs cramping on the truck ride home. I am up writing, because I hurt too badly to sleep. Gregory, whose nickname is Kool-Aid, was making some old man noises, too, by the time we left, but, he’s allowed. He worked hard, and he’s almost as old as I am. Even so, it felt good! We cleared a lot of brush and weeds. There is another section of the cemetery that is now accessible. Progress was made. We will be back.

The Friends of Mount Moriah provided hot dogs, chili, cider, lemonade, coffee, tea, water, cookies, apple crisp, just with a donation jar there. They had a whole basket of clean, new, work gloves available for anyone to use, who didn’t bring their own. Tools were provided, though I brought my own. We could not have asked for better weather. It was a gorgeous, sunny day!

Most of the people I asked had some distant relative buried there, but not all. One lady, who I was working beside for a time, said that both sets of her husband’s grandparents were buried there. They are in a section of the cemetery that has been unmaintained for so long that they have not been able to find the graves. They come regularly to volunteer to clean up. She told me that her son-in-law’s father passed away on Friday. So she came, driving all the way from Cape May, NJ, and did this in his memory. She said, “I think, it’s always good to have an intention.”

Let’s be about doing good works. Let’s be people of action!

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.  As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”
– 2 Corinthians 9:6-9

Our Expanding Menu

There is the old saying, “Beggars can’t be choosers!” It was used to teach us not to be rude when we were offered a treat or a trinket when we were children. It was the first myth to be busted when I started to serve among the homeless in the 1980s. Beggars sure can be choosers! However in Phila. parlance, the word is “choicey.” Someone would be taking too long deciding which cookie they wanted. The person behind them, “Don’t be so choicey, now. Cop and roll!”

When I first observed this, I admit, I was just a little bit miffed, and a trifle confused. Here were people, standing smack dab in front of me, receiving something for free, sometimes openly criticizing or complaining about it, or asking for more options. It went against my mother’s voice in my head, which had always, unfailingly, reliably told me that “beggars cannot be choosers.”

I needed to process this. It is not an easy thing when the world conflicts with your mother’s voice in your head.

I decided to put myself in their shoes, not literally, imaginatively.

OK. I’m homeless. I have little to no real choice over where and when I can sleep. I have to scramble to find a way to keep clean and find clothing or find a way to change or keep clothing. My stuff can be stolen by the police or anybody else at any moment. Everything is out of control! What’s to eat? At least I can exercise some control over what I eat, can’t I? Give me that. Leave me that shred of human dignity and free will.

Two weeks ago, one of the men approached me as we were unloading the TKJ-mobile and asked me if we had any beans. He is vegetarian and he asked me if I could please make him some beans, even if it is just a small serving, just for him. He is not a fad vegetarian. He has a foreign accent and has been a lifelong, vegetarian. He now finds himself needing to find meals on the street in an American city, where meat and eggs are cheap and ubiquitous. That night, we did have oranges and some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I told him that I would make him beans for the next week.

Last week, I made a big pot of mixed beans and rice, with lots of garlic, celery, onion, turmeric, sage and various other spices. This man and others were very pleased. It was unlike any beans and rice they had ever had before. Yesterday, I made a huge pot of smoked turkey soup with cabbage, baby pea pods, potatoes, broccoli, green beans, kale, leeks, etc.  Then I made three pounds of pinto beans, with cabbage, kale, celery, turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, sage, basil, ginger, black pepper, St. John’s wort, and a few other spices. We offered it as our vegetarian alternative. It was a big hit! Again, they were like no other pinto beans they had ever tasted! I did take a tiny taste. It was quite marvelous. Don’t ask me to replicate it. When I cook, there’s no book. It’s jazz!

One older gentleman asked for some of the beans and cabbage, but was concerned that it might have too much sodium, since he has high blood pressure. I told him that I did too, so I don’t use much salt. I figure people can add their own. You can always add it, but you can’t take it away. Some of the spices I used are actually known to lower blood pressure. He thanked me. He told me that the people who serve on Monday seemed to be conscious of nutrition. He wondered if there were any way we could reach out and educate the rest of the people serving to improve the health of their offerings. Now that is an interesting and rather daunting question.

If we believe the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” shouldn’t we be offering the healthiest, most palatable choices to our brothers and sisters who have fallen on hard times?

I know, something is better than nothing. Many of us are just doing the best that we can with what we have. Call me Pollyanna, but I still believe in progress. I think we can all do a little better.

Let’s be people of action.

A prayer for integrity for those serving on the front lines in spiritual warfare.

Father, thank you for your revelation about death and illness and sorrow.
Thank you for speaking so plainly to us, for calling us all friends and hovering over us; for extending your arms out to us.

We cannot stand on our own; we fall into death without you. We fall from faith, left to our own. We are really friendless without you.

Your extended arms fill us with joy, expressing love, love caring and carrying, asking and receiving our trust.

You have our trust, Father, and our faith, with our bodies, and all that we are and possess.

We fear nothing when with you, safe to stretch out and help others, those troubled in faith, those troubled in body.

Father, help us to do with our bodies what we proclaim, that our faith be known to you and to others, and be effective in all the world.

– a prayer from Masai, Tanzania, An African Prayer Book by Desmond Tutu