In this interview, Sue Hawkins tells us how "Gazebo on Glengarry" began.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a 63-year-old mother of 3 grown married daughters & 9 grandkids. Although my husband, Andrew, and I grew up in nominally Christian homes, it wasn’t until we were young adults that we decided to follow Christ. Soon after we were married, we started an inner-city church in Hamilton, ON. That was the first time I had rubbed shoulders with anybody outside my middle-class bubble and what a learning curve THAT was! Otherwise, I love to decorate and cook and host our many guests through Airbnb. I also love music and enjoy playing piano and flute in the Chatham concert band. Two years ago, I started a side hustle called Clutterbusters Home Organizing.
How did you connect with IJM?
I first heard of IJM while attending a Willow Creek Leadership Summit where Gary Haugen was speaking. When our daughter decided to help support IJM through making soup, I learned more about what this organization is all about.
Why are you passionate about issues of injustice?
I’ve never felt unsafe, even while visiting people in sketchy areas of different cities. Not only do I have confidence in our amazing law enforcement (our son-in-law is a cop), but I have some friends who fled the Rwandan genocide and are now living in Chatham. I can only imagine from their stories, how living in such fear robs your soul. I want everyone around the globe to have the same sense of security as I do.
What is your greater vision for the world?
What is my vision for the world? Hmm… Well, as a Miss America contestant might say, “World peace and thin thighs... Well… I’m not THAT interested in world peace.” LOL! But seriously, I believe that the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray can be realized. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Little by little. Little by little.
Tell us about what you're doing to bring justice to vulnerable people.
I try to bring justice by advocating for people who are being gossiped about and by supporting IJM through regular donations.
How did this event get started? What motivated you and how has this fundraising event impacted you?
Our 3 daughters have been hugely motivating. They all have taken whatever gifts they have and have monetized them for kingdom use. They’ve made, “Sauces for Syria”, “Broth for Brothels”, and have hosted “Learn-to-sew-a-cushion-night”, or auctioned off art… so, yeah...I need to keep up with them! This summer, what started as repairing some minor water damage, became a major landscaping job. After the gazebo was added, I stepped back, put my hands on my hips, and exclaimed, “God! That is so beautiful!” That’s when the idea of “The Gazebo on Glengarry” was born. I love to cook. My husband, Andrew, created a little Eden in our backyard. We simply combined these hobbies by creating a little “restaurant” to host guests who want to give to this amazing cause. We advertised in churches, the local radio station and with flyers around the community. Over 30 guests have dined here with 4 more bookings to come before Thanksgiving.
I’ve been humbled by the response. I knew I was a good cook, but I felt humbled when our guests would all pull out their cameras to shoot pics of their plates. Everyone also asked for a group shot of their party as well. Comments like, "This feels like Eden" or "I could stay here forever" made me grin. Words of affirmation are my love language so doing these meals really fills my tank. (Man, that sounds boastful…)
Chatham-Kent is a great community to do these types of fundraisers. After a routine mammogram, the lab technician happened to be in line with me at the grocery store. She told the cashier and everyone in line about the Gazebo on Glengarry. We're running until Thanksgiving, but many have asked if we're taking bookings for next year.
What have been your favourite parts of doing this, and what has been the most complicated?
My fav part of this endeavour is seeing our guests laughing and clinking glasses together. So much happens around a table. It’s a place where people feel listened to... a place where they feel that they matter. The most complicated part? Making sure that the salad plates get washed in time for dessert!
How do you find guests are reacting to the need?
A lot of people haven't heard of IJM, so I hand out your brochures and encourage every guest (and potential guest) to listen to Gary Haugen's podcast before their meal. It's short but oh so powerful. Many people donate about what they'd pay in a restaurant but many more are giving far and above my wildest dreams. After the guests leave, I force myself to first clean up and do the dishes before sitting down and opening all the envelopes. It's like diving into your stocking on Christmas morning!
Fun Question: Who would be the best person to be stuck in an elevator with?
If I was stuck in an elevator? I’d like to be with Jen Hatmaker. I’ve started reading her books and listening to her podcasts. She’s funny and smart and I get where she’s at on her faith journey.