OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONES

The people, churches, and leaders of Houston opened their hearts and doors to thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees from New Orleans. In this sprawling city, "Love thy neighbor" took on practical new meaning. But the Texas-size bigness that produced generous relief efforts in extraordinary times also can make meaningful connections difficult to form in more ordinary times. Here, two Christian Scientists, Judy Bell and Karen Van Nort, tell how their desires for deeper one-to-one and church-to-community relationships in the Houston area were answered—as they made the first moves outward.

OUR CHURCHES' participation in Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, an interdenominational community service organization, over the past few years, was the very activity that helped prepare our members to help Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Several Christian Scientists had attended Interfaith Ministries' "Spiritual Gatherings for Women of Faith," held in various denominations' churches over the past two years. Those steps outward eventually led to a branch Church of Christ, Scientist, in Houston serving as host to one of these quarterly gatherings this past June. We provided supper for 85 women from many churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques.

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