Members and friends of First Presbyterian Church, this month’s Pastor’s Page will be a bit of a departure from the usual. I want to share with you a change in our “Coffee Fellowship” tradition that has been approved by the Nurture Committee which will perhaps be a relief to some and a disappointment to others.
It will come as no surprise to most of you that the general energy level of the congregation has undergone a significant decline in the past year, due to many physical ailments and impairments and even the deaths of some long-time “pillars of the church.” The costs of hosting our weekly coffee fellowship time, both financial and physical, have increased as gracious hosts tried to meet the special dietary needs of many in the congregation. At the same time, the number of families or individuals willing or able to host coffee hour has significantly declined, and a number of the few who remained able limited their availability to once per quarter, making it increasingly difficult to arrange weekly coverage. Those who remained were being called on sometimes almost monthly, creating a situation of obligation or burden for those few. Furthermore, a large proportion of our congregation leave the church and head out to local restaurants for lunch/brunch following the fellowship time.
Meanwhile, we have an increasing number of individuals and/or couples who have significant difficulty in preparing regular meals at home and who need assistance to ensure adequate nutrition and support.
After considering all of these factors, the Nurture Committee decided that beginning May 7, we will serve only beverages during the “Coffee Fellowship” time except for special occasions. Since the beverages are purchased by the church and require much less preparation and service time, we hope that some folks who have not been volunteering to host the coffee hour will sign up to do so.
But more importantly, we want to be good stewards of the energy and gifts of our members in ways that really make a difference for others. So we would encourage those who enjoy cooking and baking to use those talents to prepare “Casseroles of Caring” that can be shared by the deacons with members and friends who need some help with meals now and then. The idea is to freeze a portion when you make a large meal for your own household that can be saved in the church freezer for use when there are special needs. Main dishes would be best, but side dishes or desserts could also be useful. We hope to build up a small “reserve” of frozen homemade meals that can be readily available for those with special needs. And we can all still enjoy one another’s company following worship over a cup of delicious fair-trade coffee, tea, or juice!