The Rev. Lydia Bucklin, young adult minister for the Diocese of Iowa, thought about the lives of young adults and their households and how to connect their faith and their living. Out of that grew monthly gatherings called Breaking Bread Ministry, that meets in bars, pizzerias,a brewery, a park, and even at the Iowa State Fair.
A few weeks ago at the Iowa State Fair, not far from the corn dogs, carnival games and Ferris wheel, the Rev. Lydia Bucklin baptized her two young children underneath a tree as some passersby joined in and others looked on in wonder. The event was the latest in a series of monthly gatherings of the Breaking Bread Ministry, a group that began in October of 2015 at a bar outside of Des Moines.
Bucklin, the young adult missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, started the group with Lizzie Gilman and Zebulun Treloar-Reid after a conversation at a retreat. Gilman had a friend who was starting a brewery, and they all thought it would be a good way to get young adults to “experience the Eucharist out in the world,” as Bucklin described it.
With permission from Iowa Bishop Alan Scarfe, Bucklin began to develop a liturgy for a sacred service in the secular world. Eventually, she developed a portable program, which resembles a regular Eucharistic service with a few exceptions: no a traditional sermon, recitation of the Nicene Creed or confession of sin. Instead, there are two readings from a variety of sources such as poems, meditations or passages from books.
Going to where people are and invited them over for dinner and a beer.
Since the first meeting nearly a year ago, the group has developed a core following of about six to eight people in addition to another 10-15 that may show up at each unique location and time. In addition to the brewery and the state fair, services have been held in a park, a pizzeria and even in Breaking Bread co-founder Lizzie Gilman’s home.
Gilman is a stay-at-home mother of two young girls and knows all too well how difficult it can sometimes be to get young families to church on a Sunday morning.
“Times have changed where Sunday mornings are not doable for some families and single people. Whether people had sporting events or they had young kids or maybe they just wanted to sleep in – whatever it was – Sunday mornings didn’t seem to be working for young adults,” Gilman explained. “So we were thinking what do people do? Well, they go out after work. It is easy to turn down a Sunday morning, but when someone is offering to feed you dinner and buy you a beer, you might want to try it out.”