Community suppers are back this fall – a collaboration amongst several Stettler churches that are held the third Tuesday of the month at Freedom Christian Fellowship Church.
The meals run from 5 to 7 p.m.
“The one whose idea this was Amanda Leckie who is from the Evangelical Free Church of Erskine ,” said Sean UnKauf, pastor of Freedom Christian Fellowship Church.
“We had been looking to do something for the folks in the community who were struggling to make ends meet. Amanda approached me during the summer of 2018 and said, ‘Would this be something that would fit with your congregation?’
“I took it to our board, and they said, ‘Yes absolutely. This sounds like something that would be right up our alley’.”
From the start, the goal was to make the community supper a truly collaborative event amongst many, so that one particular person or church wasn’t primarily carrying the load.
“She’s actually pulled together a crew from all sorts of different churches, so we’ve got folks from local churches including the Evangelical Free Church, the Alliance Church, the Lutheran church and Word of Life.
“They are all working together, and we just happen to have the facility that is closest to where people seem to have a need,” he explained.
The meals officially started in the fall of 2018, and these days, as many as 105 have turned out.
“But the first night, we had all workers and no people,” he added with a laugh. “After that, we had 30 the second month and then 60 – and it just went up from there,” he said.
“I think the thing that is best about it is that it’s not ‘pastor-led’ – it’s ‘people-led’. This was an idea that people had, and instead of the pastors coming along and saying, ‘Hey, let’s do this’, the people said, ‘Can we rally around this?’
“That has proven to be a lot more successful.”
UnKauf has been serving the congregation of Freedom Christian Fellowship Church since the spring of 2004.
As to the meals, it’s proven to be a terrific way of not just helping others but also of connecting with the community as well.
“The feedback is positive – you get great conversations, and people feel blessed because they get a chance to give back. It’s also eye-opening, because they see there is actually a need.”
It also sometimes leaves organizers feeling challenged that there isn’t more in the community to help those in need, he added. And the need isn’t diminishing, with continued economic struggles being felt across the region.
That said, absolutely everyone is welcome to attend the community suppers.
“Anybody can come.”
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