Wednesday morning will find young Michael Hanrahan holding wide the Delancey Street door as stroller after stroller wheels in. Excited children will tumble out and scramble to the elevator on their way to “the big playgroup” in Fellowship Hall.
Small play houses, a play kitchen set up, a train table, doll house, and oodles of other toys await them. Volunteers will man learning stations and there will be a special table just for playdough. While children race between toys, their caregivers will sit and chat over coffee.
Last month Tenth’s Community Playgroup began year number three. What started with a Gingerbread Tea has grown into a wonderful exercise in corporate hospitality with staff and volunteers working together to welcome our neighbors. Gathering on alternate Wednesday mornings, playgroup provides an informal way to meet neighbors and catch up with friends.
On a typical playdate, more than 40 families drop by to visit. What began as an awkward assortment of strangers has blossomed into a community all its own with parents making arrangements for additional play dates and nannies comparing notes about other events.
Midway through the morning, Christine Goligher strikes up the piano and Playgroup Coordinator Crystal Hanrahan begins the “Hello Song.” Everyone gathers for a brief “circle time” with singing, finger plays, and birth announcements. Then it’s back to playing.
Crystal thrills when someone tells her how playgroup has eased their adjustment to the city or helped them feel less alone. In a recent note to volunteers she marveled over “these sweet reminders of the goodness of the work we get to do.” As she put it, “Pure hospitality—welcoming the stranger—really is a radical concept, isn't it?”
© 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Terri Taylor. © 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org