In November 2010, Lutheran Church of the Resurrection Pastor Alix Pridgen took to the pulpit and delivered a powerful message to her congregation.
A two-year planning project had yielded a clear vision for how their church would remain relevant in the 21st Century: It must become a place where people from all backgrounds – all ages, races, cultures – came together.
The good news was that church leaders and the congregation had a consensus view. The bad news: Neither Pridgen nor the lay people had figured out how to get there.
Fast forward two years, and Pridgen says the church’s vision is much closer to being realized than she ever dreamed possible.
In March 2011, they began a program they called “Saturday’s Miracle,” offering free breakfast and fellowship to anyone who cared to come. With help from Harvesters, Village Presbyterian Church and Metro Lutheran Ministries, they had the food and volunteers to make it a weekly event. At first, attendance was sparse. Even though need for free meals was increasing, people had a hard time getting up the courage to come in.
But, today, Pridgen says, the dining room is a full, lively, and diverse place – exactly the way the congregation had envisioned. In the program’s first year, it wasn’t uncommon for only a handful of people to be in the dining room on a given Saturday. The past few month, the place has been packed. In October, they served nearly 350 people from 36 families.
“There is a lot of energy and chatter,” she said. “It’s a happy vibe.”
Still, Pridgen said, one of the reasons for the increased traffic should be concerning to everyone in the area: The need for free meals is increasing.
“For a lot of people, I think the need finally got great enough that they had to get over their hesitancy and come in the door,” she said. “Others are lonely and need a chance to be with other people. The desire to sit down across from another human being and break bread is a hunger all its own.”
Traffic is high enough that the church can use volunteers to help prepare and serve food. For more information, check out the Saturday’s Miracle page here.