Why I Love Manna

Published June 7, 2012 by Avery Cate

Manna is church. It is community. The Trinity Pines Chapel is a safe place to come and rest after a long week. I come because it's such an accepting place, where I don't have to fit into any sort of mold or feel like I have my life under control.

Most weeks I stumble up still groggy from just waking up and desperately reaching for coffee. Everyone out there is reaching for something: food, conversation, a warm smile, a feeling of hope, a way out, a cup of cold water under the hot Houston sun. And when we seek these things, we usually find them. When we make the journey out to Trinity Pines, we receive a free gift and we are changed. We walk away with refreshment, or an invitation to play chess, or hope that maybe this week will bring work, or sometimes pure unbounded joy after a conversation with a friend who received good news.

We share our time and that sacred space outside the parking lot. We share each other's pain and joy as we open up in honest conversations about our lives. We share our ideas about God and we sing about amazing grace. That's why I love Manna—and that's why I love Sundays. I get to go to church twice.

Avery Cate is a Rice University graduate and Patent Agent at a law firm in Houston. She is a member of the SMBC choir, watershed, and the weekly community of folks at Manna who share food and friendship at the Trinity Pines Chapel every Sunday morning. She drew this picture of Trinity Pines Chapel and the Downtown skyline as a gift for Joseph Kelsay, who gave it back to SMBC for safe keeping. It was framed by South Mainers J Hill and Hillevi Baar and hangs at SMBC as a reminder of our call to "seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare"(Jeremiah 29:7).