“When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.” Maya Angelou
When did you last invite someone to sit and enjoy a meal or a cup of tea with you?
Being hospitable is a core aim of Messy Church. Food plays a big part in our monthly gatherings. We can have up to 70 people tucking in at a time. From grandparents to our craft team and from babies in high chairs to our kitchen cookies. The picnic teas are the most popular with the sandwiches disappearing fast. But as folks munch away, there is something else going on. Life is being shared across the tables. Banquets are a sign of God’s kingdom and as such our meals are crucial for creating community.
As Lucy Moore says, “eating together gives more opportunity for building relationships, and providing a meal for friends and stranger expresses something of God’s open-handed generosity.”
Last year we decided to host a Big Family Supper. We wanted to bring together people from our congregation and our Messy Church. One of our younger families took on the catering. The food was amazing. This gave our kitchen cookies a well-earned break. It was wonderful to see them being served for a change.
Our children designed the invitations and welcomed guests as they arrived, leading them to their tables, ensuring a great mix of ages and backgrounds. The atmosphere was superb. We played games, made friends and spent a long time washing up in the kitchen. But even that gave us the opportunity for good conversations and to practice some first aid! The food left over was delivered to a local charity to ensure as little wastage as possible. A sense of partnership in creating something new was experienced by those involved and people talked about it for long after it happened.
Of course, there may not always be time or resources to provide a feast. But it is worth thinking about where food or hospitality fits in what you are trying to do. It can break down barriers and foster community. Just think of how often Jesus is described as going to someone’s house for a meal!
“When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honour God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
Skene Parish Church
About the Author
Rev Stella Campbell is minister at Skene Parish Church, Aberdeenshire, and a co-opted member of the Church of Scotland’s Go For It Committee. Skene are receiving a Go For It Main Grant for their Messy Church project, which provides monthly events to develop relationships with local families, and research the needs for new expressions of family worship.
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