For a number of years Reedwood Friends made a weekly shared meal part of their Wednesday night church classes. Shortly before I started attending Reedwood, they made the decision to open these dinners to the wider community and publicize them.
This was not a typical soup line. These meals would be made from scratch, and guests could serve themselves as much as they wanted.
At first there were only a few people, except for regular attenders…until word spread, and dozens of people began arriving in anticipation of the meals. Could we accommodate? Somehow, we almost always had enough food, and the volunteers came at the right time.
There were bumps in the road, and there still are. There were feelings of loss about the old, intimate, Reedwooder-only dinners. Sometimes there were difficult people, and we had to learn new ways to be a community with them. The beginning conversations with guests were awkward and forced…yet friendships have blossomed. Before we eat, we pray together over people’s needs, joys, concerns. Gradually we realized that the “guests” are a bonafide part of the church.
This meal is one of the highlights of my week. This simple ministry reminds me that we are here in this world together, and that God promises us much more than lives of individualism. Wednesday nights are, for me, a tiny slice of what a world with more peace and justice will look like. I can’t think of a more Quakerly way to take communion.
Contributed by Jade Souza, Reedwood Friends