Through the kitchen door

Will Scott wonders if it is easier to come to church through the kitchen? From the Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practices:

I have listened to many stories about church kitchens. I know stories of my aunt spending summers cooking in the kitchen of an Episcopal Church camp. Stories of a food ministry begun in the underutilized caterer’s kitchen in a large church where non-worship attending volunteers regularly outnumber church members. I have stories of youth group mission and beach trips funded by spaghetti dinners. I also know of churches with all the best and finest equipment rarely touched or put to use to feed anybody. And churches with little space or adequate equipment regularly turning out feasts for crowds.

Cooking is only a small part of what goes on in a church kitchen. Not everything that happens in them is holy. I have heard stories of loud shouting matches, hurt feelings, cut fingers, and burnt offerings. I’ve also seen lives change, resurrections happen, people discovering a new vocation, skills shared, treasured recipes passed on, class, race, age, gender, and all sorts of other differences bridged.

What are your church kitchen stories?

Comments (2)

When I came to my last church, I was surprised by the long tradition of many members putting on periodic Soup Day lunches (I was initially disappointed when I learned they were not for the poor) that, while taking lots of time and energy, raised precious little funds. It took awhile for me to learn that the real benefit of these 'Soup Days' was the collective efforts and fellowship of these members gathering regularly in the kitchen (and dining room) to prepare and serve these meals. Everyone had a job/task, they all worked together, and soup and biscuits and home made desserts were served monthly to other folks from the community who rolled up in their Cadillacs and Lincolns. Later I learned that a lot of church history was made in that kitchen - women and men staked their claims to positions of power and influence over soup, biscuits, desserts and much more. But for all the on-going drama, the sum total was always graciously good! God Bless them all!

My parish's kitchen, while not physically at ground level, is the foundation of many wonderful times in which folks care for each other, serve food and coffee, and prepare meals for those in need. It's every bit as important to the parish as the narthex.

Eric Bonetti

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