Church eats "supper with our neighbors" - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Church eats "supper with our neighbors"

February 18, 2007

Albany - - After church, many of you enjoy Sunday dinner at home or at a restaurant with friends and family. But a growing number of people right here in South Georgia have no home to go to or can't afford to prepare a dinner on their own. That's why a downtown Albany church is stepping up to offer warm meals to those who may normally not get one.

They're preparing a Sunday meal with all of the fixings. Teamwork makes it happen. Faith inspires them to do it.

"If were going to be a church that's located downtown, we need to be in a position to minister to people who live downtown and the needs of folks who live downtown," says First United Methodist Church member Doug Patten.

Patten has had Sunday evening services for a while. But not too long ago, they got a divine revelation.

"Well let's incorporate our worship service into an evening meal on Sundays and we'll invite the neighborhood and that will give us a chance to get to know the folks who live close to the church down here."

It's been a hit. Some of the people who come have no home. Others can't afford to prepare a meal themselves. So they come here.

"Because we get our souls fed," says guest Sheila Gear.

Along with a meal, guests are encouraged to stay for a worship service.

"We get physical food as well as spiritual food," Gear says.

It brings everyone together for one purpose, no matter what type of background you come from.

"I think all the churches should do it, that way they'll bring the whole community," says guest Auburn Bell.

At this point, First United has no timetable of ending this good thing.

"We started it without a plan and we'll continue it along as it seems to be meeting a need and as long as it seems to be an effective ministry," Patten says.

And as long as its offered, some of their new faithful friends will show up.

"They care. Is that why you come back? I always come back," Says Debbie Mims.

For the food, fellowship, and faith. 

Church members volunteer their time each week to help prepare and serve the meals. The program is called "Supper with our neighbors". First United members say they've enjoyed getting to know the people who live near their church.  

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