Yesterday, I Made an Assumption

Each month, we post a series of blogs around a common topic. This fall we’ve asked a number of leaders to respond to the question, “What is saving your ministry right now?” Today we are excited to feature Angela Williams, who is serving as a Young Adult Volunteer with NEXT this year! She is also working with people experiencing homelessness at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. What is saving her ministry is the breaking down of stereotypes. We invite you to join the conversation here, on Facebook, or Twitter!

By Angela Williams

Yesterday, I made an assumption.

I was riding high on my white savior complex
Proud of all the work I had done
All the talking
All the listening
All the organizing
All the helping
I had done it.

I was building relationships with guests,
But we had parted ways.

Yesterday, I made an assumption.

Two young, black men.
Taut bodies with long dreads cascading,
Sweatpants and t-shirts, with gym bags on their backs
Riding bicycles
Perhaps they were going to the gym to strengthen their muscles.
Maybe they were athletes in high school?

They aren’t like me.
They would think it weird that I talk
to people
On the street,
On the sidewalk,
On the bench,
In the park.

I help people.
I do service.
I am a volunteer.
I work with the church.
I make friends.
I am different.
I am good.

The young men stop.
Open the packs.
I see pieces of plastic loops.
Plastic bags of food.

They give the packages
to people
On the street,
On the sidewalk,
On the bench,
In the park.

My interest piqued:
“Are y’all with an organization?”
One responds,
“It’s just God’s work.
He started, and I joined him.
Have a blessed day.”

Yesterday, I made an assumption.

Angela Williams is a Presbyterian pastor’s kid from Rock Hill, SC, who graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2014. She is in her second YAV year in Washington, DC, serving with NEXT Church and the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, after living in the Philippines last year. Angela is heading to Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary to pursue the Master of Divinity and Master of Science in Social Work degrees next year. She enjoys cycling around the city, listening to live music, and reading blogs. This post originally appeared on her blog.