Life Around the Table ministries and Plainsong Farm and Ministry are pleased to announce a collaborative partnership to produce and field test the curriculum, EATING TOGETHER: Food that LAUGHS.Life Around the Table is a ministry in North Carolina founded on the following core values:
- COMMUNITY: As created beings we belong to one another, and the health of soils, plants, animals, and human beings are intricately linked.
- FLOURISHING: When we eat and invite others to eat with Godly wisdom, all creation flourishes.
- JUSTICE: In God’s economy of abundance, everyone can have access to food that LAUGHS (Local, Affordable, Uncomplicated, Good, Healthy, Seasonal). As followers of Christ, we work systematically to offer good food to all.
- GRATITUDE: The Lord’s Table is a glimpse of the heavenly banquet for which we give thanks and praise. Eating together at Christ’s table invites us to transformation and the re-imagination of our daily tables as places of communion and deep gratitude.
EATING TOGETHER: Food that LAUGHS is an ecumenical, experiential, community-based adult education curriculum for use in congregations and communities.
“More than ever, church members and community leaders are asking for a small group resource which addresses how we eat together as people of the table,” explains Rev. Grace Hackney, Executive Director of Life Around the Table. “We are excited to be working with Rev. Nurya Love Parish and Plainsong Farm to develop curriculum which provides theological depth and practical wisdom.”
Small groups will engage in what it means to develop an ecology of life together in their communities in which the sacrament of Holy Communion stands as a model for how we eat together and how we invite others to eat. EATING TOGETHER at its core develops the idea that our eating practices can reflect the delight of God in all Creation. Food that LAUGHS – local, affordable, uncomplicated, good, healthy, and seasonal food – gives glory to God and expresses love of neighbor. The curriculum leads groups through nine sessions which explore scriptural lessons and themes in light of our current food practices in our churches, our homes, and our communities.
“Our organizations share the goal of renewal of discipleship through attention to our eating practices as members of Creation,” shared Rev. Nurya Love Parish. “We are covenanting together towards the work of renewing the church through reflecting on and revitalizing eating practices inspired by the holy table of communion.”
EATING TOGETHER poses questions for participants to consider as a community, such as:
- What does the way the church eats and invites others to eat say about the God we worship?
- What does the character and work of God say to us about how we are called to be faithful eaters and feeders?
- What does the Lord’s Table have to say about how we eat and invite others to eat?
- The Lord’s Table is central to our worship spaces, but has it lost centrality in our lives?
- Where is the church in the sound-bytes we hear almost daily around food insecurity, hunger, and the growing burden current food production methods are putting on our planet?
- How can the church be a sign, foretaste, and instrument of the Kingdom of God?
In 2018 the EATING TOGETHER curriculum will be field tested in a variety of churches and communities across North Carolina and other parts of the United States. For more information about how to become a site for field testing the curriculum in 2018, or for more information, visit lifearoundthetable.org.
To be notified about opportunities to participate in the Michigan field-test of EATING TOGETHER, please sign up for the Plainsong Farm newsletter below.
The Rev. Grace Hackney is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church and the Founding Director of Life Around the Table. Grace lives on a small farm with her husband Tony and two goats, two cats, and a fluctuating number of ducks and chickens, where she provides Sabbath Life, a monthly program for ministry professionals. Grace has pastored churches and was co-founder of Anathoth Community Garden and Farm in Cedar Grove, NC. She is passionate about the mission of Life Around the Table to invite, encourage, and equip clergy, congregations, and communities to eat together faithfully.
The Rev. Nurya Love Parish is an Episcopal priest and co-founder of Plainsong Farm and Ministry. Plainsong Farm and Ministry is a new farm (est. 2016) in greater Grand Rapids that incorporates a community supported agriculture program, charitable food ministry, seasonal worship, and on- and off-farm faith formation programs. The farm is a partnership between the Parish family, the Edwardson family (farm managers), and the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan. As part of the farm’s research phase, Nurya created the first “Guide to the Christian Food Movement” in 2015, which has since grown into christianfoodmovement.org.