By Warren Spahr, Senior Warden at Holy Family “So where are we going for lunch today?” For a while last summer, this was the question posed every Sunday after church at Holy Family, Mills River.
Over coffee, we discussed menus, wait times, and where we had gone previously. One Sunday, a couple of ladies made an executive decision: “Burning Blush Brewery has a great food truck variety; let’s do lunch there every Sunday.” And with that, many Holy Family parishioners began gathering at the nearby Burning Blush Brewery for Sunday lunch.
As time progressed, we became a familiar presence to the Burning Blush’s patrons and staff. Customers observed our mealtime fellowship with each other and our priest and asked, “Who are you? Where are you from?” The answer sometimes surprises people. There we are, in a brewery, enjoying a food-truck lunch and each other’s company, being witnesses of Christ’s presence outside of a church building.
Not only are we noticed by others, but more and more we are engaging in conversation with the people we meet there. And once in a while, our priest has gone to order a drink and finds it has already been paid for.
Recently, our Bishop visited Holy Family and, instead of the standard post-worship sheet cake reception, we adjourned to Burning Blush for lunch. It was a wonderful time of fellowship as we celebrated confirmations and receptions with Bishop José and guests from Church of the Transfiguration, Bat Cave.
At the recent vestry training day, the Bishop described a painting in an old historic Virginia church that depicts the church with the parishioners leaving the building rather than
entering. Bishop José went on to explain the powerful symbolism of the parishioners going out into the world strengthened by the Eucharist. Who knows what going out into the world means? Perhaps it means being a consistent Sunday Lunch presence at a local brewery where people ask, “Who are you?”