There were 13 of us: Sister Edna McCollum, Sister Michelle Blackwell, Rev. Mazie Simpson, Deacon-elect Nick Harley, Elder-elect John Harris, Sister Tiffany Murphy, Sister Ramona Myers, Elder-elect Sherion Murphy, Sister Tamar Geter, Mother Clarinda Lipscomb, Board Chair Doris Whitt, Sister Charlene Woodson, and Pastor Valerie J. Melvin. We were visited by a native of Reidsville, Brother Bernard Alston, Jr. who resides in Charlotte. We were in awe of God’s witness in a church whose ministry just three short years ago was experiencing some real challenges.
Pastor Jolin McElroy, took us aside prior to our working and shared some slide shows of the ministries origin and effectiveness. To add to the powerful witness of a soup kitchen, FCC, Charlotte has also been the recipient of a Montagnard community whose presence has brought the beauty of ‘oneness’ to their church family. The Scriptures teach us, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). At First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) they know that all believers are equal in the eyes of God and they try to model that understanding of service. http://www.fcccharlotte.com/soup.html
There were many volunteers. We met a gentleman on lunch break from his job as a funeral director. We met a young lady who was taking a vacation day to give back to the community. Our priests witnessed a pantry that was filled to overflowing because community organizations have given to this ministry they believe in. And we served men and women from all walks of life. Some had fallen on hard times, some are still working but this ministry offers them a chance to save on food. Some are simply homeless and need all the help they can get.
And you should have seen the means of service. We were assigned tables and each guest took their seat and we served them but it was not the usual soup and sandwich. No! We served them a bowl of soup first, followed by a full course meal with dessert. And the meal was served on nice dishware with utensils…no plastic or paper!!
We, the leaders of FCC, Reidsville were wonderfully received and appreciated. We will share with you in days to come more of what we learned but just before we left, I heard someone say, I met someone who moved to NC from the state I used to live in (they had something in common),
I heard another leader say, I heard some people tell me thank you today, and I know they meant it. And yet another confession was, I have been blessed to be here today but I have also felt convicted because I have not offered any time back at home to assist with the One Harvest Food Ministry (charity begins at home). Like I said, many things will be shared about what we learned with the hopes that our Outreach Ministry will expand to reach even more people outside of our church walls.