As the leaves rustle in the street below my open window at the Stewart Center and the building sits cool and silent without the usual clamor of children, staff and volunteers I find myself in a reflective mood. Weeks ago when consulting my calendar I marked the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving as days to “get organized.” For quite some time I have allowed papers, folders and the like to accumulate on my desk, and recently, in what appears to be a sign of surrender, I have also allowed them to take up residence on the floor behind my desk; hoping no one will see them as they enter the room. As unsettling as the physical clutter can be the disarray that characterizes my email inbox has persuaded me to check email on my phone so as not to encounter the deluge of messages waiting to be processed.

As I scurried about this morning saving, filing, deleting and trashing I encountered numerous emails and papers that reminded me of people and events important to the Stewart Center’s ministry. One of the unearthed folders contained documents dated 11.25.09 which brought my organizing to a screeching halt and eventually led to this rarest of occurrences, a blog post. I first began serving at the Stewart Center the week of Thanksgiving in 2009.

As I look back over the previous two years I am reminded of the physical, organizational and personnel changes that have transpired. Thanks to countless volunteers, faithful funders, supportive board members, steadfast churches, committed employees and engaged community members the Stewart Center is in a better place today than it was two years ago.

The Stewart Center staff has consistently embodied Jesus’ love with our neighbors in Reynoldstown and the surrounding communities of southeast Atlanta. Some of the original staff remain while others have gone on to serve in places like Washington, D.C. and Gulu, Uganda. Over the past couple of years the Stewart Center has been blessed with extremely talented and passionate people willing to give of themselves in order to enrich other’s lives with the love of Christ.

On this Tuesday before Thanksgiving I want to express my deep appreciation for all those that have “loved God and neighbor” through the ministries of the Stewart Center. The Stewart Center has been serving in Atlanta for over ninety-five years, which means that I will never know most of the people that have worked so tirelessly and given so much to make the Center all that it is today. Whether you helped move the Center to its current location in 1950 or read books to the kindergarteners last Friday you are a part of the storied and ever-changing history of God’s work through the Stewart Center. From one guy that has benefitted from the Stewart Center’s ministry, thank you.
Now, with the witness of the Stewart Center’s resilience fresh in my mind I venture back to my piles of paper and emails to finishing organizing my office before I take a much needed break…actually, organizing will probably go smoother after some turkey and dressing … Happy Thanksgiving.