calendar November 22, 2010 in Faith in action

Holy Hot Dish Feeds Volunteers As Well As Community

St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, Mt. Airy, and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Lafayette Hill, will offer a free, sit-down Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day from 11 am – 1 pm at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 6671 Germantown Avenue. The meal is open to anyone in the neighboring community.

The dinner is part of a joint ministry between the two congregations called “Holy Hot Dish” that provides a free community meal every Saturday from 11 am – 1 pm at St. Michael’s. Nearly 90 people along with volunteers gather weekly for a home-cooked meal and conversation.

The Holy Hot Dish Ministry grew out of a Lenten Devotional Study on Hunger that was held last spring. The two congregations partnered to find away to respond to unmet hunger needs in the Northwest Philadelphia area and began the weekly community meal over the summer.

The numbers attending have steadily risen and the resources to meet the need have appeared simultaneously. A freezer was donated and casseroles and home baked goods began pouring in.

Linda Manson, one of the coordinators of the ministry, explained that Holy Hot Dish is a way for the Church to be a presence in the community and to build community beyond the Church walls. “It’s about meeting people where they are, with no strings attached,” says Manson.

Holy Hot Dish is also an example of how two congregations can work interdependently to do effective ministry. St. Michael’s has strong ties to the local community and St. Peter’s has a large social ministry to provide volunteer and financial support.

Both congregations feel called to this ministry and have continued to reflect on the spiritual lessons derived from the work. St. Michael’s recently held a four-week Bible

Study on “Who are the Poor and Hungry? We Are!” that helped participants understand that everyone is hungry at some level and needs to be fed, that people who attend Holy Hot Dish are no different than ourselves.

Manson commented, “We are blessed by serving and connected through serving. The people who come are our guests but also give to us. We give food but they share who they are through rich conversations, a smile, and fabulous musicians who spontaneously sit down and play the piano. It is a circle of giving and receiving.”

Volunteers are always welcome to assist with making casseroles, baking desserts, serving or assisting with set up and clean up.

Information: Contact St. Michael’s Church Office at 215-848-0199