“Did not the Lord share the table of publicans and harlots? So then … do not distinguish between worthy and unworthy. All must be equal in your eyes to love and serve.” At the heart of the mission of The Food Pantry at St. Gregory’s Episcopal church is this quote … on their altar … in the center of their worship space. Around this altar a wonderful bonanza of love and service unfolds as tables of food are spread out in a circle around the altar and poor, hungry and people of all kinds gather to receive a feast while sharing of themselves.
About her day Sidra says – “We had to take a long walk from the BART to get to the food bank but it was fun and worth it. It was worthwhile because whenever I help someone in need I get a warm feeling inside and that happened today.”
About her day Jill says – “Emelia and I loved the icons on the walls that surround the altar at St. Gregory’s: Rumi, St. Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, Ella Fitzgerald, Anne Frank, a dancing Jesus, and so many more. It was food for the eyes, and Emelia and I were taking it all in!”
About her day Emelia says – “It was fun seeing all the happy faces that received their fish patties. And even though I couldn’t understand some of the guests because they spoke other languages, I felt humbled by their gratefulness for what they received. Hi Aldy! ”
About her day Kathe says – “We’ve walked and walked and stood and stood; we’ve cleaned and scrubbed and polished, and lifted and lugged and hauled and given people what they needed and wanted; my feet hurt; my back is locked up; and it has been a spectacular week!!! What fun we have had in all the situations in which we have been allowed to serve. Day after day — sleeping on the floor, getting up early and serving the variety of God’s children who have come into our lives — it has been a supremely enjoyable privilege. I am so thankful for it all. And I am thankful, too, especially for these four young women who have served with willing and happy hearts and shared in our Bible studies and just being together.”
About her day Claire says – “We walked and walked toooooo much … but it was worth it in the end. It was worth it because we got to see all the happy faces of the people who got the food. It was funny when I would give them two of something and then they would ask if they could have two of that something. I’d try to tell them that I already had given them two and they’d ask for two and then I’d try to tell them that I already had given them two and they’d ask for two and … and … you get the idea.”
About his day Phil says – “St. Gregory’s Episcopal is a dancing church — from the dancing Jesus to all of those who have gone before us — the dance goes on. I took video of the food set out all around the altar and the hungry people coming and getting good food, baskets and gunny sacks, canned goods and gourmet breads all set in the sanctuary. The Parish breaks bread in Holy Communion each Sunday, and then feeds the hungry each Friday, often over 600 families. The dance of community and sharing and the oodles of volunteers all had this in common — that Christ’s joy and love be evident in action. It has been such an amazing week, and all eight of us have grown in so many ways. I’m so thankful to be part of the girl’s lives in such an important learning and giving. Oh yes, ask the girls about “cutting the Covenant”, too.”
About her day Danielle says – “It was hard to communicate with some of the guests, but it was nice when you were actually able to connect over things. They liked to refuse what you were giving them then quickly realize what it was and take it; that was very entertaining for everyone. I enjoyed listening to all of the different accents of those who actually spoke English. I heard German and Lithuanian accents from the guests, and British accents from several of the permanent volunteers. The number one language among all of the people would have to be Chinese. I think this food pantry is special because it gives people dignity by letting them shop for their own food rather than giving them a bag of food and sending them on their way.”
About the day I’d just like to say that while the neighborhood had its issues causing signs like this one to be posted in certain places we certainly found lots of value in this day and in the week. We worked hard at having all
“be equal in your eyes to love and serve.” We are all extremely grateful for the opportunity to go on this trip, learn more about ourselves and our world and grow closer together and to our God in faith. It has been a remarkable journey, I hope you’ve enjoyed it along with us, and I pray that we may all discover anew both the gift and call that comes from God’s love in Jesus Christ.
We’ll look forward to seeing you back in Hood River as we start home tomorrow!
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