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It happened again! On a Saturday morning, January 25, 2020, 100+ folks gathered in the Parish Hall to celebrate with friendship and fellowship. The “folks” were a blend of enthusiastic St. Catherine's volunteers and our friends from the Holy Comforter Friendship Center.

For those unfamiliar with Holy Comforter, it is a diverse worshipping community in the heart of Atlanta. About 60% of this congregation lives with mental illness. The Friendship Center is part of the outreach ministry of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church. 75-80 members are transported by vans to the Friendship Center several days a week for hot and nutritious meals, mental and physical health education, advocacy, recreational activities, and programs in art and gardening.

Our Holy Comforter friends were welcomed in the parking lot and escorted into the warm Parish Hall. Inside, Jubilate was playing and singing. On the screen were slides of past events and activities at the Friendship Center. Round tables were ready with hand decorated placemats and colorful baskets of fruit. Our Holy Comforter friends were served hot coffee as they were seated. It was a festive scene.

Mother Sarah welcomed everyone and introduced the new Holy Comforter vicar, The Rev. Ashley Carr. Mother Ashely offered the blessing. Volunteers scurried around refilling coffee & water at the tables. Each table had both St. Cat's & Holy Comforter revelers. Everyone was chatting and the band played on.

A wonderful lunch was served starting with Brunswick stew & rolls followed by BBQ, baked beans and coleslaw. A tray of delicious desserts was offered by our wait staff. As tables were cleared, Jubilate played their last tune and several Holy Comforter singers took the mic for a joyful song or two.

Then it was time for bingo. Letters & numbers were called, cards were filled and eventually the first “BINGO” was shouted out! Each winner selected a prize from two tables filled with donated items. After the last bingo was called, everyone had a chance to select a gift to take home.

As the event was winding down, our Holy Comforter friends bundled up and hopped into their assigned vans for the ride home. Hugs and goodbyes were exchanged, and the extra prizes were sent home with the Holy Comforter staff for use in future bingo games at the Friendship Center.

More photos of the day...

A friend sent a text that summed it all up, saying, “My overall memory of the day was seeing a whole bunch of happy people.” God is good!

Linda A. Shrake, volunteer

Photos by Glenn Cox, Bettye Harris, Harriet Pyburn, Bill Ivey, Judy Dechar

LEARN MORE about Holy Comforter Friendship Center in this video:

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