My usually soft-spoken cousin, Ron, commented on facebook last week that it would be great if people would spend less time on discrediting people and organizations (including religion) and more time praising positive things in life. I decided to take this cue from cuz and work to post more positive things people are doing. A good place to start is the church my family attends: Evangel Baptist Church in Boardman, OH.
I was amazed and extremely pleased to hear about the prom dress giveaway announced on Sunday morning a couple of weeks back. I got in touch with Lynda Hawkins, who’s on staff at our church working with children, to find out how this all started. Angela Ford, another woman from Evangel, came up with the idea. After pointing out that prom dresses are only worn once, and that they are extremely expensive, she told Lynda what a great idea it would be for our church to bless the community by giving away dresses that would only hang in closets unused anyway. Angela (center), Lynda (right), and Lynda’s sister, Lisa Rohrman (left), organized the whole thing. Our local newspaper, the Vindicator (where I got this pic from), got wind of it and did an article that resulted in even more donations. More than 100 dresses have been donated to date.
Having grown up in a low-income family it’s easy for me to see that, in a town like Boardman where there is an extreme gap in household income levels, there is real pressure for lower-income families to prevent their daughters’ embarrassment brought on by a low standard of dress on a night where attire is the highlight. It may not be the same as providing food for a family (which Evangel also does, by the way), but it is still a great avenue for a group of Jesus followers to connect with their community in a meaningful, creative way.
This kind of caring for others is the very thing that attracted people to Jesus. Remember the whole water-to-wine thing at the wedding celebration in John 2? It’s not like they needed more wine to survive. It was a wedding and the social disgrace of running out of wine would have been disastrous for the newlyweds, so Jesus provided a way out of such a disaster for them.
I was chatting with Lynda over the phone about this, but we had to cut our conversation short because someone had pulled in to choose a dress. The excitement in her voice was contagious. I hope it catches on with more than a few others.
Thanks Angela, Linda, and Lisa, for your willingness to think outside the box – just like Jesus did.