Thursday, January 22, 2009

Churches feast together

I had the pleasurable experience of chopping vegetables in the church kitchen for an hour or so this afternoon, along with Pauline and Norma. We are preparing a vegetable soup to feed 60-70 people later on, at the annual Churches Together dinner, down the street, at Tabernacl Baptist Church.

For the past five years we've met for this event at St Peter's Church Hall and have been fed by caterers. In order to moderate the cost - so many older church members across the board being on fixed incomes, we agreed to experiment this year, with a main hot course prepared by Gio's, the Italian restaurant next door to Tab, and other courses - soup, salad, cheese and fruit, brought along by various church teams. This more than halved the cost, and the outcome was very good indeed.

There were indeed seventy of us crammed around tables in Tabernacle Sunday School upper room, and the atmosphere was very good indeed, despite the absence of a bar, and alcoholic drinks. In good company, you just don't need it, and it keeps costs down even further. We may be entering austere times, but our feast didn't reflect that, a modest price tag of eight quid notwithstanding.

Quaker theologian Christine Trevitt was our after dinner speaker, reflecting on the universal significance of humour and jokes told against themselves by all kinds of Christian groups, reminding us of Reinhold Neibur's dictum that being able to laugh at one's own foibles and failings was a prelude to penitence. It was both entertaining, and thought provoking - a nice surprise to conclude our meal, before we worshipped together.

I hope we can manage another event of this kind in the year to come. The fact that there are half a dozen lively and active churches in the 'square mile' of the city centre is soemthing to celebrate. Even with our diversity of traditions, we have a great deal in common in the challenges to Chrisitian witness we all face.

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