Dining with Dignity:

An Evening of Feasting and Friendship

A Meal for the Community

 

Inspiration

The American Cathedral in Paris:

Every Friday at the American Cathedral in Paris about 80 homeless people are served a four course meal, part of the parish's commitment to the wider community.

Sara Miles:

Sara Miles is the founder and director of The Food Pantry , and serves as Director of Ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco.

Milton Brasher-Cunnngham:

Milt Brasher-Cunningham is a UCC minister and the author of Keeping the Feast--Metaphors for the Meal.  I was attracted to the book because its forward was written by Sara Miles.  The book reinforces the connection between the Eucharist and the everyday day meal we share.  I was "blown away" by the following:

Uptown Church (Chicago) had all kinds of ministries aimed at meeting the needs in front of them, not the least of which was a comunity meal.  Twice a week they prepared and served food for the neighborhod.  Two things mqde it significantly different than any other soup kitchen environment I had known.  First, no one stood in line.  Every table had a tablecloth and a place setting,  and the guests, as we called them, were invited to sit down and we served the food at the tables.  Once we had seved the meal, we were encouraged to get a plate of our own and join them for dinner so we could hear their stories and learn more about who had come to dinner.  The second thing was the meal was open to whoever wanted to come and eat.  Many came because they were hungry and had no money for food; others were there because they hungered for community.

This could have been written about The Fatted Calf Cafe, for it describes our meal in detail.

Henri Nouwen:

Hospitality means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines. It is not to lead our neighbor into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment.

Souce: Reaching out

Prayer of the Person

The person across from you is the greatest miracle and the greatest mystery in this moment-a testament of God's continuing creation and presence in the world.

The person across from you is an inexhaustible reservoir of possibility, with potentialities only partially realized.

The person across from you is a unique universe of experience—of possibility and necessity, laughter and tears, love and indifference, hopes and fears—all struggling for expression.

The person across from you believes in something-something precious; stands for something, lives for something, labors for something, waits for something, runs for something, runs towards something.

The person across from you is not perfect -often feels disappointed, is often undecided and disorganized and woefully close to chaos; but is endowed with a tremendous inner strength, and is capable of surviving great difficulties and persecutions.

The person across from you is a community of person-persons met during a lifetime. Each carries with them a mother and father, student and teacher, brother and sister, enemy and friend.

The person across from you does some things like no one else in the world. There is something this one life on earth means and cares for-will that person dare speak of it to you?

The person across from you is more description than explanation.

The person across from you is MYSTERY made in God's image, never to be fully understood.

Look before you, and within you -look around you -for God is indeed among us!