One of the greatest strengths of the All Saints’ family is to open the doors of our church in hospitality and love to the stranger. We seek to welcome and serve all who knock on our door.
A small group from All Saints’ met with Dr. Andrew Nance of the Community Free Clinic. He was seeking a partnership of hope, a collaboration to offer wellness and healthy eating classes for a small group of their clients, So, it was not surprising that All Saints’ answered, “Yes.”
Our kitchen and parish hall are part of a wonderful campus that is located directly across the street from the clinic. The bus stops on our property offer public transportation and a small group of parishioners were joyful with the opportunity to walk in hope with others.
In January of 2020 we began a trial partnership. The chefs were two remarkable women, graduates of the program, with stories of trial, hope and new paths in their lives. A pair of parishioners from All Saints’ were present in the kitchen to assist in preparation. There is joy and fellowship during the Wednesday morning gatherings. Often vegetables and herbs from the All Saint’ kitchen garden are used in the meal preparation. Everyone present sat down and broke bread together at the end of each class. The true blessing and joy of each Wednesday gathering was seeing Jesus in each other.
Opening the doors to God’s people is a clear and strong ministry call of our parish. We are blessed with rich ministry, and the openness to try new things and learn from our successes and failures. We are always journeying to be the beloved community of Christ and to define “church” in new ways.
Like all fledgling ministries, there have been successes and disappointments. It has been disappointing when illness, inclement weather or transportation kept all clients from attending class. Yet when the chef was sick one day, our own Shelley Williams cut bok choy and other herbs from the kitchen garden, gathered a few ingredients form the grocery store and served a healthy plant-based meal to clients. Kathy Thompson washed dishes, and Don and Nancy Foskey arrived early to unlock the church, fix coffee, serving as welcoming hosts. Nancy Hunter made sure the kitchen was ready to be shared.
On Wednesday mornings, the names and stories of those gathered were shared, a community was formed and Christ was present. Blessings overflowed.
We pray, learn, sing and listen as we sit in the pews on Sunday. We become disciples of Christ when we take the teachings of Jesus into the world. Let us all be disciples of God’s love and remember:
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.Matthew 25:35, NRSV