AT ST. LUKE UMC, 16 homeless people are guests during Thanksgiving week as part of the Interfaith Hospitality Network. St. Luke requests this week each year so that in addition to home-cooked meals and a safe place to stay, they can provide Christmas for the families. A church member who is facing his third surgery for prostate cancer holds a 20-month-old smiling child. A young couple with a new baby of their own shows up to cook their specialty: tacos. A woman from Emory UMC, whose home is an assisted living apartment, rejoices as she brings homemade cakes and ice cream. A mom, her daughters, and family friends from St. Matthew UMC serve up a fried turkey and ham feast. A woman leaves her own family to spend the night in the church with the special guests. Two boys enjoy cinnamon toast and apple butter for the first time, made by the United Methodist Women for breakfast.
After Thanksgiving, the families receive a Christmas celebration. The church is decorated beyond the greens and the trees; it is decorated with God's grace.
-- Rev. Stephen Burkhart, Elm Tree Parish