Nourishing God's Children: Knowing Christ in the Breaking of the Bread

Nourishing God's Children: Knowing Christ in the Breaking of the Bread

  Karna Baseman Stark
  Immanuel Lutheran Church
  Pepin, WI

What was the purpose of your project?

The purpose of our project was to open ourselves to the joy and surprise we encounter in the hospitality of Jesus. We worked on building and strengthening relationships in our congregation. We learned more about poverty and hunger in our area. We considered our own poverty and abundance and the ways we are being called to partner and share.
What did you do?

We focused our worship on the hospitality stories of Jesus. We created a booklet of scripture passages and prayers to encourage people to celebrate the hospitality of Jesus at home. The grant made it possible to purchase refrigeration for our food pantry. This enabled people in our community to share garden produce, meat, milk and bread.
What difference did your project make for participants?

This is the first year that we have been able to share our incredible bounty of garden produce with friends who visit our food pantry. In the months to come, we hope to be accepted as members of our area food bank. This will allow us to stretch donations by purchasing food at a reduced price and to offer fresh and frozen food choices year round.
What did you discover or learn that most surprised you?

Poverty and hunger are complex issues and working toward solutions can also be complex, time consuming and expensive. In order to become a part of our area food bank, the food pantry needed to achieve 501(c)3 tax status, form a board of directors, and make changes to our food storage space. These were all good changes -- just unexpected!
What did you learn that you would like to share with others?

We began by looking at current expectations surrounding hospitality from television and magazines and how this kind of perfectionism gets in the way of truly welcoming one another. When we thought about hospitality as a faith practice, we were able to see the power of grace, God''s abundance, and joy at work in and among us.

© 2006-2011 The Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith