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It is a Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, just after 1 p.m. It’s 92 degrees, but with the humidity, it feels hotter.
Fifteen to 20 women and men are gathered in a shaded area on the north end of Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta. They sing “This Little Light of Mine” as the life of the city swirls around them.
Blocks - EMS - Workers - Gurney - Man
Four blocks away, two EMS workers struggle with a gurney as they tend to a disheveled older man slumped on the side of the road. A recent high school graduate poses for photos in front of a nearby fountain. In the park, two people passing out plates of rice attract a crowd.
This is Sunday worship at Church of the Common Ground, where the Very Rev. Monica Mainwaring, her staff and volunteers hold worship outdoors every Sunday for a congregation of people who are living on the streets -- and anyone else who cares to join in.
People - Hands - Pray - Sunday - Service
People hold hands and pray during a Sunday service at Woodruff Park.
It can be a struggle to compete with the activity surrounding them, but the experience is vital to this church without walls, which seeks to serve people where they are -- and as they are -- week in and week out.
Church - Church - Common - Ground - Needs
Like any other church, Church of the Common Ground provides for the pastoral and spiritual needs of the women, men and youth in its midst each week. In addition to Sunday services in Woodruff Park, it offers morning prayer and Bible study, for example.
It also has offerings unique to its congregation, such as Common Soles, a nonmedical foot clinic. But more than anything, Church of the Common Ground is focused on offering unconditional acceptance, theological affirmation and community to some of the estimated 3,000 homeless people in the city.
Dignity - Worth
“We strive to honor the dignity and worth of...
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