The SISTAs group held its monthly meeting Sunday evening, and as frequently happens, the meeting took place in and around the church kitchen. SISTAs, or Sisters in Spirit and Truth Always, is the name of the women’s ministry group at Believers’ Baptist, and a lot of our ministry projects involve food in some way.
Several times a year, we gather to cook for emergencies. We prepare casseroles and freeze them so they are ready when someone needs a meal because of illness or other troubles. We also hold fund raisers to support holiday benevolence projects, and these usually involve food – a spaghetti dinner, a chili cook-off, or this year’s new event, an ice cream freeze-off. We also host baby and wedding showers, wedding receptions, funeral luncheons, and various other food-related events.
SISTAs is not the only group that uses the church kitchen. A group of our men volunteers every year to serve breakfast to players in the RISD athletic program. Some participants in the Family Matters Bible Study bring take-out food on Wednesday night so they can fellowship together before class begins, and the Summer Wednesday Bible Study has a special food theme for each meeting. Of course, we can’t leave out the church-wide potlucks when we all share food, fellowship, and our favorite recipes around the table.
With so many people using the kitchen, the cabinets and storage areas sometimes become really disorganized. Believers’ recently hosted the monthly Hunt Baptist Association Executive Board meeting, and SISTAs was asked to cater the meal. The baseball-themed menu was fairly simple, and the evening was a great success, but the volunteers realized the kitchen was in need of some attention. Sunday evening seven of us spent an hour or so laughing and talking while we straightened and labeled drawers, shelves, and closets. Hopefully, our efforts will make future events easier and more efficient, but considering our busy fall schedule, I wonder how long it will be before the kitchen is a mess again.
Ours is not the only church kitchen that sees a lot of use. Almost every church I’ve ever been in has a large area that is equipped to prepare and serve food for their members. Regardless of how different we all are in background, life style, interests, and other ways, we all share a need to eat, and fulfilling this need together seems to draw us closer. Some potluck grinches think churches put too much emphasis on eating, but there is a lot of biblical and historical precedence for the practice. Like anything else, we can have too much of a good thing as Paul points out in his letter to the Corinthians when he admonishes those who apparently used the communal meals as an excuse for overindulgence. However, when done right, a Sunday potluck dinner can sound like this: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42
While the sanctuary is the heart of the church, the kitchen can be a service center where the lessons learned and the commitments made during worship can be put into practice. Friendships are formed, joys are shared, sorrows are healed, and communities are strengthened in the church kitchen.
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