A Community Meal Among Neighbors
From 5:00pm to 7:00pm each Tuesday at the church on Carpenter, we invite neighbors in to have a light meal…
This ministry began in the fall of 2005, when a few folks from Kumler United Methodist Church had the desire to share time and food with their neighbors who were struggling with poverty. Gathered around round tables, they invited people in. In the spring of 2006, it expanded into an ecumenical ministry when five other congregations joined to help provide food, volunteers, and support.
Each Tuesday, we come together with food and conversation, seeking to build relationships with our neighbors who are struggling with poverty and homelessness in our community. Our aim is to create a context where people from all walks of life can come together for a time in order that the Kingdom of God might be experienced.
This ministry is not about things or programs or techniques but about people. Our devotion is to relate to everyone who comes into our presence as neighbors.
Our Ministry Team
Currently, eight local congregations (Chatham UMC, Elliot Ave. Baptist, Petersburg UMC, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Laurel UMC, Fresh Visions Community Church, Kumler UMC, and Calvary Temple) provide and serve food on a rotating basis. In addition to these eight congregations, our ministry team is comprised of people from all walks of life who desire to serve and love their neighbor. We conclude every Tuesday evening with a reflection about our time together and prayer for our neighbors. We ask for a regular commitment from volunteers, but all are welcome to come check us out. Additionally, there is a great cloud of witnesses who support this effort through their prayers and tangible gifts.
If you think you might be interested in helping out or for more information, please contact us at 217-523-2269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress.
But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.”
— Henri Nouwen