A poster with “The Regulars” hung in the church for all to see.
As attendees sat down in Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church chancel, where the choir sits, they were able to see the many people who regularly participate in Face to Face, a human services organization that provides free meals, health care and other programs in Germantown for people who are homeless or cant afford the services on their own.
The Chestnut Hill church held an evening prayer titled “Open your hand to the poor” as part of holy week.
A few years ago, the church got involved with the Bethesda Project, which helps the homeless, and it wanted to work with an organization that was closer to home. Face to Face was their choice.
The lights went dim as part of the ceremony.
After everyone recited a prayer for light, more than 30 candles on a sacred table were lit, and people were invited to dip their hands into a bowl of baptism water to alleviate suffering and homelessness. Later, they dipped their hands in the same bowl, where Rose of Sharon anointing oil had been added.
The soft honey-like smell filled the church as Mary Kay Meeks-Hank, executive director for Face to Face, started talking.
Meeks-Hank was drawn to the part of the service where the audience said, “To those we barely notice, God draws especially close.” She shared a story of a woman who has a serious mental health issue and is involved with Face to Face.
“We might turn away from her on the street,” she said. “At Face to Face, she has an identity.”
This interaction with people who may not be recognized normally is where the group got its name.
Meeks-Hank was accompanied by two Face to Face artists, Dexter Herbert and Beverly Treadwell, who will have their work displayed at the 2011 Spring Art Show on May 6 starting at 5:30 p.m. at Face to Face.
Though Treadwell may not consider herself a great artist, she likes being part of a connected group.
She has been part of Face to Face for at least four years and has helped passing out food in the dining area. As a diabetic, the medical services offered there are important to keep her weight and sugar levels under control, she said.
Treadwell can go on and on about the programs offered at Face to Face. One day she hopes to open a center like it to help others, she said.
A small reception followed the service, and Beverly Gast, who has attended the church for 25 years, took the time to thank the Face to Face participants for attending.
Gast had three social events to choose from that night, and ultimately decided to attend the church for its traditional outreach sermon, which has given the church an opportunity to work with Our Mother of Consolation, a Catholic church across the street, before, she said.
The New Philadelphia, a poem from an unknown author, was read toward the end of the service. She thought the line “there was no difference between Kensington and Chestnut Hill” perfectly summarized the change that needs to take place.
“That should be printed in a newspaper somewhere,” she said. “This can be and will be in a New World.”
The Face to Face Spring Art Show will be May 6, 5:30-7:30 p.m. 109 East Price Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144. Call 215-438-7939, or email: www.facetofacegermantown.org for information.