Sunday Supper at Trinity UMC (Romans 12, Issue 261)
Sunday Supper at Trinity UMC
Trinity United Methodist Church is located just beyond the southern edge of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Housing in the immediate vicinity includes budget-friendly student apartments, small rental homes, and Section 8 family housing. The neighborhood is also home to a small community farming educational project called Tri Cycle Farms. The members of Trinity UMC knew that both food insecurity and eating alone were issues for many of their neighbors. They began to imagine how they might partner with local farmers in order to feast with their neighbors.
Sunday Supper at Trinity was born. After partnering with a beloved local restaurant owner to learn how to cook and serve a weekly feast, the members of the church soon began inviting people in the community to a free monthly Sunday evening supper. Families from the neighborhood who attended the meal began volunteering to help. Children were recruited to serve as hosts and to help set up, and the church began teaching their new friends basic gardening techniques.
As members of the church and Sunday Supper participants began telling their friends about this ministry at Trinity, word began to spread throughout Fayetteville. Soon other groups wanted to help, so the members of Trinity developed a schedule so that each group involved now takes full responsibility for the meal and program on a rotation. Today, Trinity partners with groups from seven churches and three secular groups to feed between 85 and 100 people every week. Several food programs donate food — including the Farmers Market — and a few local restaurants. Trinity also offers educational programs as well during the Sunday Supper.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- Who lives near your church? What are their needs?
- How might you partner with other congregations and organizations to respond to community needs?
- How can you move beyond a vision of “giving to” to a place of “gathering with”?
Produced by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church to communicate effective principles and practices demonstrated by congregations that are actively making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
These congregations are marked by:
- Clarity around the mission and vision of the congregation.
- Practice of spiritual disciplines, both corporately and individually.
- Nurture in growth in discipleship through mutual support and accountability.
- Cultivation of intentional and mutual relationships with the most vulnerable—the poor, children, the imprisoned, the powerless.
- Consistent concern for inviting people into relationship with Jesus Christ, combined with wise practices for initiating them into the body of Christ.
- Connectional relationships that facilitate participation in God’s mission of global transformation.
- Shared clergy and lay leadership.
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