“Third time’s a charm.”
“Trouble comes in threes.”
September 23 was Pasadena Community Supper Club’s third dinner event. So, which was it? Triumph, or Tribulation?
Is there something to this? Or has this merely been a mildly costly exercise in (largely my own) self-indulgence?
The answer is both straightforward and difficult.
For fans of Reader’s Digest, here’s the straightforward version:
We had another solid turnout of over 40 people at the service (close to a third of Centennial Place’s residents) during which our dear friend Inés shared a beautiful, uplifting message from Luke 24: 28-35.
We handed out over 100 plates of food (about 80 of which were first servings), including an especially delicious homemade lemon cake baked (from scratch) by one of our rock star volunteers. (More on them later.)
Again this month we heard from many of our neighbors at Centennial Place how much they enjoy the time together with us and each other, and how appreciative they are that we keep showing up month after month.
What else needs said, right? That’s success, plain and simple. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.
With this Executive Summary out of the way, allow me to share some more personal reflections about the enterprise as a whole.
This past weekend - Saturday and Sunday (the day of the event) - was the most work that’s gone into a Supper Club dinner so far. I suppose that’s not saying much, as it was, after all, only the third event.
But something felt different. “You own this now,” was the phrase that kept going through my head. “This is real. What are you going to do about it?”
Well, cryptic if somewhat sage-like voice in my head that sounds like Gandalf the Wizard, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do...I’m going to...I’m going to...try to do it again next month…?
I’d like to sound confident. Truth be told, it’s all quite intimidating.
Yes, we have managed to put together three pretty good church services and dinners. I’m quite happy with the effort and output, and, more importantly, those we are serving seem to be as well.
Now we have to do more than just show up. If anything, the “mulligan!” window has closed. I’m supposed to know what I’m doing now.
Our “success,” such as it is, is also opening up some new opportunities to get our name out into the community more in the form of some new (and possibly even revenue-generating) work. These opportunities though, open up the door to risk, or at least raises the stakes and makes Prudence all the more valuable a virtue.
Sometime in October, before our pre-dinner update, I promise to share more about this, as well as some ways you can help us, if you’re so inclined.
Moving on, and speaking of help...
Since the August dinner we have been blessed with a few generous gifts from friends that have allowed us to make some critical equipment upgrades.
Our good friend Brandon was visiting at the very end of August. He and his wife, Lauren, gave us a check to support the Supper Club. Their gift allowed us to, with less financial fear and trembling, buy new chafing dishes and quality, reusable aluminum food pans.
(For background: due to our rented kitchen setup, we have food being completed all afternoon the day of the event that must be kept at proper serving temperature, sometimes for several hours before serving. With only limited oven space available, chafing dishes are a MUST. For the first two months we were using disposable aluminum pans balanced precariously on flimsy wire racks, which caused spills of food and hot water. They were a source of constant frustration, a few minor burns, and much salty pirate talk.)
Jerry and Annette once again showed their generosity in helping underwrite the cost of this month’s dinner. (I hear rumors that they will be joining us in-person for an upcoming month’s event, and I hope they don’t think that their Favored Patron status will get them out of kitchen duty…)
Kyle and his wife Courtney, along with our mutual friend Johnny, also helped make this month’s dinner possible. That we’ve all been friends for over 12 years now is seriously hard to believe. If we were to go back in time and talk to college versions of ourselves, I’m not sure which would be less believable to us then: that I start a nonprofit in the future, or that they donate to it!
I’d now like to thank this month’s volunteers, a significant percentage of which were newbies!
Once again, to Inés, thank you for sharing your heart and God’s word.
To her husband Rob, for playing the guitar for our worship time. And to their son, Nash, for being such a cool dude.
To Rob and Robyn, for being with us every step of this journey so far.
Pushpa, as I alluded to earlier, made the dessert AND sang. I predict I’ll be out of a job soon.
Edward, LaTosha, and Mitzi were so dedicated that I had to kick them out of the kitchen so they would eat. (That’s a good problem to have in case you’re wondering.)
Len joined us for the evening, and he and his congregation will be leading the service in October. Very excited for that.
Kelsie was, among other things, tortilla griddler pro. She also helped out a ton in the kitchen on Saturday and earlier in the day on Sunday.
Oh, and Brooks was there, too. I’m kidding. That’s a major understatement. Brooks is there times 100. He keeps showing up and digging in week after week, month after month. He laughs every time I say “We couldn’t do it without you,” as though I’m joking.
My wife, Teesha, continues to be a steady and welcoming presence during the services all while making several new friends at Centennial Place.
Finally, I’ll leave you with just a quick preview for October…
Brooks and Kelsie will be taking the culinary reins for our next dinner. Full details to follow in our mid-month post, but in a word: Chili.