Monday, August 10, 2020
Meals and Ministry: More than Nourishment
By Rev. Sue Bennetch

Presbyterians have a reputation for having breakfast, lunch or supper with friends from the church or a neighbor who has something on their mind. We have early morning Bible Studies at favorite diners in our neighborhoods; our craft group and other ministries break at noon to have lunch together at Kirkland Village; and many K-groups start their evening meeting time with a dinner made by that evening’s host.

Sharing a meal together deepens relationships and is an important part of our lives. Many people have expressed the loss they feel because of the pandemic. Restaurants are closed, or now have limited outdoor seating and shortened hours. We all long for the time we can see our friends in person and break bread together once again.
Yet in the midst of the health crisis that is stifling our plans, there is a group of people from our church that are sharing meals together two to three times a week. It started as a church ministry for our Deacons when we reached out to those living alone, unable to drive, or no family close by, and offered to deliver a meal to them. 
These faithful men and women deliver a meal to about ten households every week. They shared with me how these relationships have blossomed, grown, and flourished over a meal. And today these relationships are so much more.

Recently, one of our food preparers, Jane, called her contact Nancy to let her know that she would be bringing over a meal. Nancy did not sound very well and Jane suggested she call her doctor. Her doctor told her to go the Emergency Room.

Instead of dropping off food that day, Jane took Nancy to the hospital and stayed with her while she was admitted. Nancy’s stress level decreased and she was very glad that Jane was with her.
Throughout the day, people asked Jane if she was Nancy’s daughter. Jane and Nancy tried to come up with a short answer. Finally, Jane answered: "No, I am her quarantine buddy!" She and Nancy had a good laugh.

Another food preparer, Sharon, tells a story about the couple she prepares meals for. They are elderly, with health issues, so they were very touched when they received the call telling them about our Meal Ministry.
Sharon and this couple have a good relationship and they have developed a trust since they first began receiving meals. Sharon shared how fond she was of them, and cherishes the friendship she has developed with them.

The husband always tells Sharon to open a restaurant because the meals are so well made! “You just take such good care of us!” he says every time he meets Sharon in the driveway to receive the meal for that day.
With unemployment benefits in limbo, and eviction notices a real possibility, food insecurity can be growing. And this long quarantine period can take its toll in many ways. If you or someone you know would like to receive meals (whether weekly or just a one-time occurrence), please let us know.
You can email me at sbennetch@fpc-bethlehem.org and I will put you in touch with these kind and wonderful men and women. You can also leave a message at
610-867-5865.