Sharon had tried to organize a neighborhood gathering to welcome the woman who had moved in across the street. She baked muffins and brewed coffee enough for a dozen. But only the new neighbor and Sharon’s old friend Marge showed up. So Sharon poured their coffee into mugs, and they sat informally at the kitchen table. The conversation skipped from schools to doctors to hairdressers before turning to churches. The silence was awkward as each tried to judge whether religion was a safe topic.
But Susan, the new neighbor, persisted. She fought back tears as she shared how much it meant for her priest to be with her during her daughter’s losing battle with cancer. Leaving the small Episcopal parish that had loved her through that terrible time was the hardest part of moving. She was eager to find a new church home where she could experience that hope and comfort. Marge and Sharon were unsure how to enter into the holy space Susan had opened up at the kitchen table. But they responded to how Susan’s faith made a difference in her life; and before they knew it, they were sharing their stories about how their different denominational experiences had affected them.
The unity these women felt around the kitchen table was exciting and meaningful. They wished that others could share in this vision of Christianity that is deeper and richer than what divides the church.
This message was adapted from “Kitchen Table Ecumenism” by Phyllis Anderson that appeared in the January/February 2006 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine. If you are reading “Daily Grace” online, sign up to receive it by email daily.