Each Saturday morning cars roll into the parking lot of the former First Presbyterian Church United in Syracuse, New York. Folks are already gathered, waiting to help bring in the breakfast foods and set up for the weekly gathering of the Isaiah’s Table community. Our focus is food- both actual and spiritual. We welcome everyone, just as they are, and invite them to actively participate.
Isaiah’s Table started as a new worshiping community in 2012 when a group of ruling elders felt called to keep a neighborhood ministry on the campus of their church after it closed. We meet on Saturday mornings for breakfast followed by worship around the tables. Folks from our immediate neighborhood come, as well as people from across the city, many of whom have spent the night outside or in a shelter.
We are grateful to be seen as a safe place for many going through difficult times. Every person who walks through our door is greeted with a warm smile and is asked their first name, which we write on a name tag. Everyone is invited to participate in worship, reading scripture or prayer, adding to the message as they are comfortable, and coming to the communion table. During the harvest months we invite all to help with our community garden or go out with wagons into the neighborhood to distribute free fresh vegetables donated by our partner, Matthew 25 Farm in Lafayette, New York.
The Lord continues to do new things in our faith community. Building relationships is the most important thing we do. People know that in our simple, consistent gathering they will be treated with dignity and respect, will be called by name and can participate in what God is doing at Isaiah’s Table in whatever way they are willing or able. We seek to live out our tagline- grace, hope, food for all.
—Story provided by Nancy Wind, Ministry Coordinator at Isaiah’s Table