Rev. Lou Seipel, once served Board Street United Methodist, an inner-city church in Columbus, Ohio. They serve 25,000 meals to people without housing, offer a Freedom School to at-risk children, and provide legal assistance and ministry to single women struggling with mental health and recovery issues.
Pastor Lou shared that in a shielded corner of the parking lot, people would sometimes relieve themselves, using the church parking lot as a bathroom. On a hot day in August she stepped across “the stream” and came inside to a Trustees meeting. She told the Trustees, “I wish I had a sign that said, “Don’t Pee on my Church!”
One of the Trustees took her seriously and posted a sign on the building:
“Don’t Pee on my Church” including her name, “Pastor Lou.”
She was mortified. She saw her own sin before her in print, realizing that her mouth had the power to make a sacred space unwelcoming through her words. She realized that if the poor had a bathroom, they would have used it. She told the Trustees to take down the sign immediately.
Hospitality to all of God’s children is what makes my heart sing! It means taking inventory of how we “do Church,” always looking for more ways to eliminate barriers and embrace all as sisters and brothers in Christian love.
May God’s Spirit move among us as we strive to welcome all in the name of Christ.