A Good Day for a BBQ

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As I drove down our Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services’ San Antonio campus road on an early Saturday morning in preparation for our annual San Antonio Back to School Barbecue in September, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of peace and serenity. In the meadow behind our Single Parent Family Program home, I saw a doe and her fawn seemingly enjoying the same calm I was in at that moment.

Seated at a picnic table in front of the Single Parent Family home were two mothers and their daughters from the home who were taking advantage of an opportunity to bask in the early morning sun. Nature’s young – the deer and the mom – stuck close to their mother’s side. The sweet cooing of a baby lifted the air, and I knew that today was going to be good day.

The air was already sticky, and I was bracing myself for a hot day ahead. But a soft wind swayed tree limbs and by ten o’clock that morning, the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church’s Agape Band had set up their instruments and our countless volunteers, who brought food and games, had arrived. The picnic tables, adorned in checkered red-and-white table cloths, were ready to greet the PCHAS crowd.

The kids’ games corner where a life size Tic Tac Toe game, bean bag toss, and a “tattoo station” for kiddos (stickers, not “real” tattoos of course) was ready and waiting for the ensuing giggles and laughter of children.

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As the first wave of PCHAS friends and supporters arrived, the band played Songs from This Little Light of Mine to other classic camp and worship songs. The band’s music was accompanied by the Agape Band chorus, who love to belt out these favorite songs of theirs with great enthusiasm. The music added a wonderful and harmonious element to the already lively scene. This is the band’s third year of playing at PCHAS barbecues. We are blessed to have such a talented group of musicians share their gifts with us.

Perhaps most striking about the barbecue was how so many individuals came together to make this event a success. More than ten church congregations contributed food and refreshments; volunteers helped set up and clean up; and, despite the heat, PCHAS Ambassadors manned the grill for three solid hours. Volunteers helped serve food; and when we were low on supplies, made quick runs to the store to get more.

Everyone was welcomed to sit at any table, and it was moving to see the guests interact. There seemed to be no “this group” or “that group,” no cliques. We are all part of a community and it showed. Our community is a living, breathing community. We cannot make it through life alone, nor does God want it to be so.

By the end of the day, we celebrated with more than 75 PCHAS friends, supporters, and staff members. Almost all of the food was eaten. The games had had their fair share of children’s play. The band had packed up. Our grill masters retired for another year. And all guests had returned home.

Yes, it was indeed a good day for a barbecue.

By Laura Nettleton