MAY 4, 2016
This Week at Grace

Food: The Stuff of Life and Faith

Dear Grace,

Last month, I had the privilege of attending a conference here in Atlanta called, "Sowing Seeds - Where Food and Faith Meet." This gathering-which was a collaboration between the Candler School of Theology, the US Humane Society, the Caretakers of God's Creation (a ministry within the UMC) and various local congregations-drew people from around the country. We shared fellowship, worshipped together and learned about the ways that we interact with God, with others and with Creation through food.
For many of us, food is not something we think about in too much depth. Eating is a necessity of life, a task we must complete daily. The fruits and vegetables and proteins we consume are easily obtained in shiny, convenient grocery stores. We squeeze in a quick meal as we're driving to work, or eat alone on the couch while answering emails. (I'm definitely guilty of this!) As a general trend, we're becoming more and more disconnected from our food-from the systems and people that produce it, and from the rich experience of sharing it in community.
But, as people of faith, we are called to be mindful about food. The Bible is filled with stories of God's provision of food, and humanity's sharing of it. We learn about manna from heaven (Exodus 16:1-36), and the abundance of food in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2). The prophet Isaiah repeatedly calls to his people to provide for the hungry in their midst, and Jesus miraculously feeds the 5,000 (John 6:1-15) on a beach. Our very sacramental life is centered on the meal of Eucharist, when we remember Jesus' Last Supper with his friends, and participate in a feast of thanksgiving at God's table.
Indeed, food is the stuff of life. Therefore, it is also the stuff of faith.
So, how are we, as Christians, supposed to think about and interact with food? How are we called to be engaged in feeding ourselves and our neighbors? Can we spread the good news of God's love through the breaking of bread?
On May 22nd, we at Grace UMC will consider those questions and hold a church-wide discussion about food and faith following our 11:00 AM worship service. Your Church Council has agreed that this important issue will be a primary focus of Grace's ministries in 2016-2017. So, we need your help and your ideas to determine what that will look like! All are welcome and encouraged to join us for this planning session. Just contact me (cdauterman@graceonponce.org) to RSVP. I know that by sharing our dreams, passions and talents we'll have a fruitful (bad pun alert!) discussion that lays the foundation for a year's worth of transformational ministry.
Well before I made the decision to join Grace UMC, this congregation had discerned that food and feeding were important to the mission of our church. It's right there in our vision statement!
We seek to "FEED our community spiritually and physically, while reaching outward in God's love and welcoming all in the name of Christ."
I am so proud to be part of a church community that knows the value of food, and has a gift for hospitality. And I am excited to see what Grace can do in 2016-2017 to make our vision a reality!
I hope to see you all on May 22nd!
Grace and Peace,

Calissa


Calendar

Calendar of Events

TOMORROW - Thursday, May 5
Grace Reads, 7pm, Starbucks in Whole Foods Ponce Plaza

Tuesday, May 10
Needles and Prayers, 7pm

Wednesday, May 11
Women's Group (Bible study and fellowship), 7pm, Calissa's home

Thursday, May 19
Church Council Meeting, 6:30pm, Grace Cafe

Saturday, May 21
HELP Ministry, 9am, Middle Parking Lot

Sunday, May 22
Grace Planning 2016-2017, 12:30pm, Grace Cafe

Tuesday, May 24
Needles and Prayers, 7pm

Wednesday, May 25
Women's Group (Bible study and fellowship), 7pm, Calissa's home

Thursday, June 2
Grace Reads, 7pm, Starbucks in Whole Foods Ponce Plaza


Event Spotlight
Grace Community BeltLine Walk
Saturday, May 14th, 9:30am

Get to know part of our neighborhood and enjoy the outdoors with a walk around the BeltLine!

All ages are invited to join us as we walk from Grace to Piedmont Park, to Ponce City Market, and back to Grace via the BeltLine. (We will also travel on the sidewalks of Charles Allen Dr. and Ponce de Leon Ave.)

Friends of the two-legged and four-legged variety are welcome too. Hope you'll join us!

GRACE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
458 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
404-876-2678

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