Serving up hospitality with heart each Sunday!
by Kate Brigham, Vestry Member
Here at St. Paul’s, Coffee Hour is like the unofficial 8th sacramental rite. It has been the traditional add-on to worship service throughout the ages where people gather to share food and fellowship. In fact, the Early Church’s Eucharist probably looked a lot like Coffee Hour.
In this day and age, we live in a nation, a world, where so much has become “Global”. It is common for extended family members to live on opposite ends of the country or even in the world. Also, there is a kind of compartmentalization of our modern society’s structure; children go to their academic institutions 5 days a week, adults go to work for 8 hours a day (or more) and the elderly spend extensive periods of time alone or with each other. When we gather together at St. Paul’s, we become a kind of clan or extended family of our own and Coffee Hour is one of the few places where people of all ages and diverse life situations can mingle, have conversation and make connections. It is a place where regardless of our political background, income or past history, we can get along amiably on a personal level.
A lot happens there; intergenerational interactions take place, there is networking that extends outside the church walls, we check in on our friends weekly to make sure they are doing okay, people share stories, laugh and make plans. Moreover, it is a place where we welcome newcomers.
When we see new faces, we can simply introduce ourselves and ask what brought them to St. Paul’s? During our worship service, we acknowledge God’s grace to us. We give thanks and praise as we received the holy food through the Eucharist. At Coffee Hour, we have the opportunity to extend and share what we have been given by means of our hospitality which is the simplest form of spreading the gospel. In other words, we can walk the talk.” Coffee Hour can be the pivotal point of a newcomer’s entry into the church. When newcomers visit St. Paul’s, they are often looking for a connection to Christ and to the church community. When they come to Coffee Hour, they get a feel of our congregation’s hospitality and decipher if they are welcome or not.
Sharing food is the most basic form of community, as often represented so many of the stories of Jesus. Another member says that he loves the feeling of the hustle and bustle in the kitchen. “There’s something about the energy working in there [kitchen]. Even though I’m refilling the coffee pots and washing dishes, it just feels good.” One does not have to climb a mountain top or trek out into the wilderness of solitude to experience the Spirit! God’s Spirit is alive within us wherever go, with every cup washed and cookie served.“I’m not a very social person by nature but when I help in this practical way, I can be useful. I love seeing people enjoying themselves and the refreshments help bring them together.” There are currently about 60 members who volunteer with the Coffee Hour Ministry. They are grouped into 2-3 people teams and serve approximately 3 times a year. In fun teamwork fashion, they provide food, prepare, serve and clean up. One Coffee Hour Volunteer said, "What is also unique about this ministry is that it is one of the few places where the entire family can serve in together. Children can serve alongside their parents in a kind of apprenticeship. They can push the trolley carts and transfer food to the serving table, load the dishracks and work the heavy-duty dishwasher." This ministry also invites individuals who don't bring food, like students, to sign up to help set up & clean up like Jacob Duquette. He volunteered in order to get to know members of the parish and he's a great help. Food purchases are not required to serve in this important ministry and reimbursements are available as well.
Week after week, our incredibly devoted Coffee Hour leader Linda Ward, solely oversees this entire operation and it is no easy task. She coordinates volunteers into teams, organizes multiple schedules and manages countless details in order for each Coffee Hour to run as smoothly as possible. She’s marvelous! A big THANK YOU LINDA!! And a big thank you to all who participate with this ministry!
Our congregation has grown and both Coffee Hour services are in need of more hands, especially after the 9am service. Anyone who is interested can join. As many of us have seen, the refreshments can range from coffee and a few simple plates of cookies (thanks be to God), to a whole spread of rolls, deli meats, veggie platters and treats. Even dropping off a plate of brownies or box of crackers would be appreciated. Whatever one can supply is a blessing for they are all provisions from God. Through our hospitality of food, conversation and welcoming spirit at Coffee Hour, we can demonstrate God’s love with each other and any newcomer who seeks a community in Christ.
firstname.lastname@example.org, Contact: Linda Ward,
Coffee Hour volunteers include: Amber Nichols, Cathie Oberg , Charlotte Hoel, Dorothy Murphy, Dottie Nichols, Gloria Mapes, Holly Telfer, Isabel Blanco, Jackie Whitmore, Jacob Duquette, Jacob Duquette, Janet Sharp, Joi Weaver, Kamira Rea, Steve, Kate & Elliott Brigham, Kathy Mintz, Kay Reddell, Kim KJ Byford, Kirsten Barron, Laurel Cook, Laurie Parrish, Linda Hardy, Linda Pierce, Linda & Fred Tiffany, Linda Ward, Lisa Hamstreet, Lisa Potter, Lucy Eggerth, Marilyn Mastor, Mary Summerfield & Mike O’Neal, Norma & Peter Sherwood, Pam & Doug Bulthuis, Pat & Don Smith, Pat & Ron Weitnauer, Randi & George Sanders, Robin, Ian & Patrick O’Callaghan, Sally Schoenberg, Sheila Randall, Shirley Susich, Sue & Jim Johnstone, Sue Warren, Teresa Flodin, Tina & Christian Schoepe, Wendy& Chris Johnson.
We are always looking for new members of this ministry! Volunteers may sign up for a monthly rotation and are sometimes asked to help on special occasions.