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“The bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.” Exod. 3:2

Monday, April 14

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The Presbytery of the Inland Northwest

Idaho, Washington

Volunteer and culinary instructor Curtis Smith serves the fourth course to two guests at a recent Big Table dinner.

 

Volunteer and culinary instructor Curtis Smith serves the fourth course to two guests at a recent Big Table dinner.

 

During a decade of moonlighting as a restaurant critic, I dropped into the hidden world behind the smiles of those who waited on me, and God ultimately used this experience to shove me out the door to launch a nonprofit to care for those working in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Why? Three reasons: (1) food-service workers are the largest employment group in the nation; (2) they are incredibly isolated—most working when the rest of us are not; and (3) they face intense stress and have the highest rates of drug and alcohol abuse in the nation. In addition, the industry is the catch basin for the most vulnerable in our culture: at-risk teens, single parents, minorities, new immigrants, and ex-felons trying to put their lives back together.

What started as little more than a culinary diversion changed the night God woke me out of a deep sleep with this call: “I need a pastor for this industry. Are you interested?”

The vision for Big Table unfolded that night, inspired by Acts 2, where Luke describes the disciples eating together and caring for one another. This simple model—shared meals around an actual big table, and care without condition—has become a stunning way of reaching those in an industry full of people alienated from church and angry at a God they mistakenly believe offers only conditional grace.

The Presbytery of Inland Northwest serves 46 congregations and their 6,616 members.

Rev. Kevin Finch, executive director, Big Table

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Teaching Elder Sheryl Kinder-Pyle, executive presbyter
Joyce Bippes, administrative assistant
Kurt Hartvigsen, financial administrator
Virginia Ailes, resource librarian

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Andrew Gamble, BOP
Rev. David Gambrell, PMA
Debbie Gardiner, PMA

Let us pray

God, in your mercy, give us eyes to see beyond the smiles of those who serve us. Open our hearts to love those so easy to treat simply as tools, for you said that whenever we care for the least, we serve you. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 119:73-80; 145
First Reading Lamentation 1:1-2, 6-12
Second Reading 2 Corinthians 1:1-7
Gospel Reading Mark 11:12-25
Evening Psalms 121; 6

Comments

  • Thanks for featuring this industry ministry. I live in Orlando, Fl one of the biggest hotel & restaurant cities in the U.S. Wish someone would start a Big Table Ministry here. by Sue Rudolph on 04/14/2014 at 9:06 a.m.

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