On a damp, November evening, as the temperature outside was dropping and the sky was darkening, a group of volunteers and I were busy at work inside the kitchen at the UU Fellowship of Corvallis, OR creating the fuel for communal warmth. We were preparing for the first Sacred Supper dinner worship night here at the fellowship.
While we were chopping garlic, eagerly watching the rising of focaccia dough, and arranging rides for some of our attendees, I led us in conversations about childhood food memories, favorite recipes, and the beloved ancestors who passed them down. Once the meal had been prepared, approximately fifty people, including congregants, newcomers, and people experiencing homelessness, gathered together around communal tables. I led us in singing, candle lighting, and storytelling, and we blessed our food and expressed our gratitude. We feasted together on a nourishing, vegetarian dinner of Moroccan eggplant stew, and I encouraged conversations that invited joy, reflection, connection, and deepening. For me, it was a special and sacred evening that brought together the most holy ingredients of food, community, and celebration.
These Sacred Suppers have developed as my imaginative reinterpretation of both the Sabbath meal and the fellowship of communion. People are invited to rest from their labors, reflect, and connect with each other. At the congregations where I have shared this dinner worship, participants have expressed gratitude for the opportunity to get to know each other better over cooking, eating, and even cleaning up, and I have witnessed true community in formation. This, to me, brings together my passion for storytelling, food justice, and setting more seats at the table, and embodies my ministry of building community, nourishing the spirit, and leading with love.
“It was great to be with old friends and get to know new friends.”
“It was exactly what I needed.”
“It was a nice spiritual evening celebrated with people who want to be a part of the celebration of Light and Love during mealtime.”