Tonight many Episcopal churches will gather for Maundy Thursday. Some will have an agape meal (a communal meal centered around the love of Christ), some will wash feet (remembering how Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, and some will celebrate the Eucharist.
Food is such an important part of our lives. I tend to take it for granted. I’ve never gone with out food. Instead, I spend my days trying to limit my intake. However, I have spent the last ten years working with people who are hungry, people who don’t have access to healthy food, and people who can’t afford the fresh fruits and vegetables I take for granted.
Our church, St. Mark’s and St. John’s on Culver Road in Rochester turns vacant lots into gardens. We partner with colleges and Universities to teach students about the effects of racism and the cycle of poverty in Rochester. We employ high school students from impoverished neighborhoods to work in the gardens in the summer as part of the Summer of Opportunity program.
We had a senior in High School work for us who had never tasted a raw tomato. Cindy, our priest says we are saving the world one tomato at a time.
We have a food shelf once a week where people can come and get food. The stories of our guests would fill a book. The only way to really understand the poor is to be in relationship with the poor. There buy by the grace of God go I. And by grace of God, I mean I was born into priviledge. I had every advantage – good food, good education, clothing, housing, cars that ran, parents with a college education and good jobs. And I’m white.
Jesus showed generous hospitalty to everyone and we try and do the same. After volunteering at this church I no longer take my privledge for granted. Aside from feeding people, we are trying to help change a broken system. We recently found out that 95% of the students in our church’s neighborhood school are reading and writing below grade level. The same holds true for math.
There is plenty of money in Rochester. There are plenty of smart, creative, and action oriented individuals as well. We just need to focus.
2 thoughts on “Maundy Thursday”
Dear Julie, Thank you for this post. Our church has a fifth of an acre (corner of an unused school yard). We grow vegetables and flowers for our nearby South Sacramento Interfaith Food Pantry. This summer we will hire our very first high school interns! (starting with just 5). Our larger institution does not recognize this as church. It grieves me greatly. On this Maundy Thursday we join with you in treasuring the land which so clearly connects us all to creation and our creator.
I am sharing my co-pastors message which he will give tonight. We gather on the farm for cider/wine/home made breads and juices tonight.
With hope, Linda
Linda Dew-Hiersoux (she/her) Co-Pastor at The Table UMC firstname.lastname@example.org thetable.farm
5265 H Street Sacramento, CA 95819 rooted, growing, reaching thetableumc.org
Many blessings on your ministry!!!!!!