It was the first week of August -- just a few days before the Sojourners 20th Anniversary Festival was to take place in Grand Rapids, Michigan -- when a phone call came to the Sojourners office for Aaron Gallegos. This was not unusual, since Aaron was taking last-minute registrations, fielding questions about meals and accommodations, and trouble-shooting the chaos.
"I just wanted to let you know that I won't be able to make it to the festival," the voice on the phone said.
"Have you registered?" Aaron wanted to know, ready to pull up the information from his files.
"No," was the reply.
Aaron grew uneasy, thinking that perhaps he was speaking to one of the multitude of resource people who were planning to offer their gifts -- someone whose name he just didn't recognize. After further questioning, it became clear that he was talking to a Sojourners reader. The reader just wanted to let us know she wouldn't be able to join us for the celebration.
It made sense, in a heart-warming sort of way. You always RSVP for family gatherings. From the very beginning, it became clear that Sojourners readers and friends were heading to Grand Rapids with the spirit of a "family reunion," and those who couldn't make it wanted to let us know why.
One reader's granddaughter was getting married that weekend. Another couldn't leave home because he was waiting on a heart for a transplant! We received letters, telegrams, and phone calls from all over the country -- and as far away as Australia and the Philippines -- wishing us well and promising to be present with us in spirit and prayer.