Radical Hospitality at General Assembly

The Boston YAVs knew for a while that we were going to General Assembly before we found out where we were going to stay while in Detroit. We knew staying at one of the hotels downtown would cost way too much but there were other options such as urban homesteaders and the classic option crashing on a church floor. Luckily we didn’t have to worry about any of that. In true Presbyterian fashion, someone knew someone who knew someone (and so on) who knew of a place for us to stay at a new hospitality ministry.

That’s all we knew when we flew into Detroit late Friday night, and we were all surprised, overwhelmed, and incredibly grateful for the gracious hospitality that we received when we arrived.

Karen and Paul are Presbyterian pastors who serve churches out in the suburbs but felt called to be part of the community in and restoration of Detroit. They bought a huge (and when I say huge I mean the biggest house I’ve ever been inside that wasn’t a museum of some kind) home so they could host family, friends, seminary students, and quirky young adult volunteers. We walked in and they immediately offered us some snacks and beer and we felt right at home.

Throughout the week it felt like we were being adopted into their family as we cooked and ate meals together, shared our frustrations and joys about whatever happened during the plenary session that day, and hung out and talked about life and the church and the life of the church in the sitting room late into the night.

After about two days we started referring to “The Abbey” as home, and even though it was just four miles out from downtown and Cobo it became a refuge from the chaos and politics of GA. By the end of the week we still couldn’t believe how lucky we were to be there and experiencing such radical love, hospitality, and community.

This whole year I haven been experiencing support and hospitality from individuals, churches, and presbyteries, the epitome being our time with Karen and Paul and their lived-out and visible expression of God’s love. I am forever grateful.

YAVs Paul and KarenPaul, Karen, and YAVs in their bumblebee yellow kitchen.


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