Hello 2019. Goodbye January. We hardly knew ye.
I (Fred) am not one for sitting down and writing out New Year’s Resolutions. (I am also not one for just sitting still these days...perhaps there’s a correlation.) But if asked to write down one goal for Pasadena Community Supper Club in 2019, it is this: more connection, and deeper relationships, with the women and men we serve at our monthly dinners.
My Enneagram 7-ness pushes me toward inch deep, mile wide activity and involvement. That’s not what’s called for in the work we’re doing. Dig in. Plant roots. Stay a while. That’s what needs done.
Well, in that sense we got off to a good start this year. On January 12th we held a baby shower for Natasha, one of our regular Supper Club members. Together with her mentor, the wonderful Karen, and Natasha’s family and other friends from across her life, we cobbled together some nice gifts to help her and baby Kameron get off to a great start in this world. Oh, and I made a pretty good chicken salad, if I do say so myself. (Not pictured, sadly. We’re terrible at documentation of the visual variety.)
This past Sunday, the 27th, we held our seventh Pasadena Community Supper Club event.
For dinner we served a hearty and delicious favorite of mine growing up, Southwestern Casserole. (No IG-worthy “perfect plate” having been assembled for posterity, one might reasonably ask, “Did it even happen?”) We made six large pans of it, so much so that, in a rare occurrence, we actually took some home after handing out firsts, seconds, thirds, and to-go boxes.
I was joined in the kitchen this month by Corey, recently returned from jungle escapades at Machu Picchu, as well as the indubitable Brooks and ingenious Pushpa, who teamed up to bake delicious sheet cakes with a hidden (but nonetheless lovely) chocolate swirl baked inside.
As for the service beforehand, we were led this month by our friend, Mark Fields, one of Teesha’s classmates and currently the head of Young Life at Pasadena High School. Pushpa said before the service, “Mark’s spiritual gift is reading Scripture!” And she was. Not. Kidding.
Mark read from and shared a word on John 11, where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. This was fitting, as the Centennial Place community is living in the aftermath of a death of a longtime resident. The mood was heavy. Solemn. Sad. The woman who passed away attended our dinners regularly. I’m sad to say I did not know her well, but I did talk to her and see her often enough while there.
Mark graciously allowed residents to share memories during his sermon, and we opened up the floor for more such sharing during our community prayer time. One resident, Tom, read a loud a blessing and poem he wrote down. There were tears. Several people became emotional and the room at several points during the service. I’m not sure what - if any - other time there will be for recognition of the deceased. I hope that we were able to offer some small comfort and consolation.
It seems like such a small thing we are doing. What difference can a casserole and a couple of hours of chit-chat make? Perhaps a lot. I should mention that we were joined by 20 volunteers this month, over half of which were first-timers. Many of them sat and talked - or, more accurately, listened - for the better part of two hours. It reminds me that we must never forget that, as our name says, “community” comes first. Even before the supper, important as that is.
For the third and final time, I’ll beg your pardon for the lack of pictures of Sunday’s event.
And, for not the last time, I’ll ask you (yes, you) to consider a donation to support our work. Yes, I’m still doing that whole breakfast thing at the coffee shop, and that continues to support our work. But things like Natasha’s baby shower - along with other little ad hoc events, cost money, and we never want to have to think twice about saying “Yes!” to them.
(A note for our donors: we did, officially, submit our 501(c)(3) paperwork to the IRS...about 2 weeks before the shutdown. Needless to say nothing has happened with that. I’ll happily give an update when there is one to give.)
Thank you all. For your financial support. For your prayer and encouragement. For supporting us in this work of loving our neighbors as ourselves.