Gary and Mrs. Camp

Here’s another gem from Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier’s book Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness. In his article, ‘Finding God in Strange Places: Why L’Arche Needs the Church’, Hauerwas tells the following delightful story about his time at a United Methodist church, a story that involves ‘Mrs. Camp, a very elderly lady, and her son, Gary, [who] was mentally disabled’:

Gary was hard of hearing, so he and Mrs. Camp sat in the front pew during services. When it came time for Eucharistic celebration, Gary would slowly help Mrs. Camp up and move to the rail. The ten-foot trip took two or three minutes, and the whole church waited with bated breath for Gary and Mrs. Camp to make it. Once they did, we all would follow. But we were led by Gary and Mrs. Camp. If they weren’t present, you could feel the congregation worry whether we ought to have Eucharist that day. It wasn’t clear to us that we were all gathered.

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