A November Supper Club Recap
“It’s starting to feel like a community.”
That was the mutually-agreed-upon-yet-independently-arrived-at sentiment of our core group following Pasadena Community Supper Club’s November service and dinner.
It has only been five months, five dinners, no more than, say, 10 to 12 total hours of presence, but something seemed different, deeper, more connected, and more welcome at Centennial Place this past Sunday.
We’ve been seeing the same faces month after month, and now they recognize ours. We’re getting more residents at Centennial Place to come downstairs, out of their rooms, even as we’re bringing new people from the outside, out of our own little social circles, inside of doors they might otherwise never darken.
Something is happening. And it’s good.
With apologies to all the nerds, all of that sounded perhaps a little too much like the voiced-over intro to the first Lord of the Rings movie. “The world has changed…” and all that ring of power stuff.
But seriously, something did feel different on Sunday. There was an expectation in the voices of our friends at Centennial Place. Of course we were there, and so were they. It’s the fourth Sunday of the month. It’s what we do together.
While the dinner was held just three days after Thanksgiving, we had decided over a month ago not to try to recreate a turkey dinner. Union Station Homeless Services holds its annual Dinner in the Park event, which brought food up to our friends at Centennial Place and alleviated any need for us to put on a dazzling display of tryptophan. So, we opted for a crowd favorite: spaghetti.
This was in keeping with our now two month tradition (I alone get to decide how long until something is declared a “tradition” in this organization, thank you very much) of cooking good - but much more simple - food. Brooks once again took the lead in the kitchen, making his grandmother’s meat sauce recipe, one which includes pepperoni and - wait for it - green olives. It really was delicious, and much as it pains my fragile culinary ego to say, this meal got more compliments from the diners than any previous month. (Keen observers will note that the picture above shows meatballs, and no green olives. That was the picture from my demo dinner, the photo taken by a friend with an actual eye for artistic presentation. He was not there on Sunday to get a pic, but the food was still tasty and beautiful.)
Teesha asked her new friend and fellow Fuller student, Lauren, to preach at the service. Lauren is from Australia, and shared a wonderful message about how the world judges us based on first impressions. For her, it’s her accent. For the audience, individuals who may outwardly bear some signs of what we associate with poverty, well...it’s all the stereotypes that come with that. Her message was one of God’s love, and healing, and acceptance for each of us right where we are, no matter who we are.
Super volunteer (and newly elected Member of PCSC’s Board, I might add) Pushpa led our singing. This was quite important, because though we had no guitar or keyboard to accompany, no one seemed to mind. It’s a reminder that our presence is really what matters. The community - our friends - will make the most of the situation and raise their voices all the same. (It helps that Pushpa can sing, I suppose.)
There are so many people to thank.
Our friends Daniel and Kristen helped make this dinner possible through their financial support, as did Rob & Robyn, and my own sister, Jenn, and my brother-in-law, Russ. I am grateful to each of them, along with others who have donated to Pasadena Community Supper Club, for the trust they have placed in us. I hope each of them has a chance to see in-person what God is up to through this work.
Speaking of in-person...Annette and Jerry - who have been and continue to be generous supporters - were visiting, and got to see our little operation either in whole or in part. Jerry put in work at the dinner. He just got in the kitchen and never stopped. Just look at the way the man drains pasta like a pro.
This is fun. That’s all I can say about it. After the third dinner, and that gosh darn foolish idea I had to make 45 pounds of pork tacos, I was run down. Something had to change, and it did. We’ve established some new rhythms for these Supper Club weekends which have brought life and joy back to those of us who work behind the scenes, particularly in the kitchen. That, I believe, reflects in the spirit of the entire event and among its participants.
Next up: December’s dinner, on the 23rd. That’s awfully close to Christmas, you might notice. Indeed it is. But that’s the fourth Sunday of the month, and it’s what we do.
Furthermore, there is not, to my knowledge, any other type of Christmas party for our friends at Centennial Place. So, celebrate we must. The plan (as of right now) is for our home church, Church of the Resurrection, to lead the service. We will sing Christmas hymns, particularly “O Holy Night,” which is my favorite. We will eat good food, menu still TBD. And we are working on a little something in the way of a gift we can give to each of the dinner guests. It will be something small, but meaningful.
I want to ask for your help with that. In order to get a small but special gift for 150 people, we need some additional financial support. Yes, we’re doing this who breakfast burritos and food sales stuff, you may point out. And yes, it is going well, profitable even. Likely it will start pay for the dinners, and perhaps more. But there’s still more we want to do, and now. If you’re planning on doing any more end-of-year giving, please keep Pasadena Community Supper Club in mind. (On a related note, we have engaged a firm to assist us with our 501(c)(3) application, which is being submitted in the next few days. So there’s that, too.)
Until next time.