Jeanne agreed to share her experience of organizing JOIN's monthly Book Club! The Book Club is a welcoming place for our folks to come and connect over coffee and pastries. It's been a wonderful opportunity for people to share conversation not just about books, but to build community together.
About 4 years ago I started to come to the house at JOIN to knit, just knit. I had heard Paul Schroeder give a homily at my church about the power of presence, the power of asking someone who is experiencing homelessness their name, the power of relationship. That morning after Paul spoke I asked myself what I liked to do, and the answer was knit, so that is what I decided to do at JOIN.
When I started I suppose I had more of a "Portlandia" vision of what I would be doing there: I could teach a bunch of folks to knit and they could open Etsy Shops! They could earn money through the power of crafting!
What actually happened as I sat at the table at JOIN, with my friend Denise who was already an accomplished crocheter, and I talked to people. Because I was knitting it was clear I wasn't going anywhere, and I had great and weird and interesting conversations with all sorts of folks.
It has been a while since I have been to JOIN to knit, although I do have a monthly book group with some folks that I really love. At some point I asked myself again, what do I like to do, and the answer was to read. And again, I had some grander notions of what I thought our book group would look like: We'll read "A Tale of Two Cities" and discuss the classics!
But that was too much like school for all of us. So now we might once a month and eat pastries and discuss the books we are currently reading, which usually no one else has read, and we laugh and share stories about our lives.
I have learned and gained so much through these relationships and friendships, and I cherish them all.