As a Family Promise board member, I’m always changing my hat. Yesterday I was a tour guide. I put together a parade, a moveable feast inviting stories and reflections from staff and volunteers and clergy and guests and graduates. The idea was to strut our stuff for a hopeful bunch from Bartlesville, OK. They are thinking of opening a Family Promise there and wanted to see our organization in action.
The happy result was a very full day of taking in the sights and sounds of Lawrence Family Promise. After a Day Center tour, lunch with the staff, a board meeting and time with clergy and volunteers, our group headed to St. Margaret’s, our current host congregation, for pizza and time with current and graduated guests.
Twelve large pizzas later, everyone headed outside to form a crazy wiggly noisy circle of babies and kids and new friends and old. We gathered around a fire with marshmallows on sticks and leaned in close to hear the best stories of the day.
Strong and beautiful moms and dads, heroes all, told of living life. Family Promise helped them along the way, they say. And now they want to help others.
One graduate mom leads her church group to come and cook and serve and sit with new guests one Monday a month. Another mom is a mentor to a younger woman walking a similar path. A graduate dad, whose car quit on him earlier that evening, was so intent on keeping his promise of telling his story that he paid a cab to take him and his kids to St. Margaret’s. His family is whole and housed and he is gratefully focused on giving back and encouraging others.
The new guest families watch and take it in. New volunteers and those from the prospective affiliate take joy in the breadth and depth and hope all around.
Godspeed, Bartlesville. May you have joy in your journey and good times ahead like these when you can take a day to stand by, take note and say thanks.

===Katherine Dinsdale