aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Joy upon joy

The Indiana Confessing Movement sponsored a Missions Dinner with the Rev. Joseph Mulongo of the North Katanga Conference at Ellettsville First United Methodist Church this evening. It was my privilege to cater the meal. It was also my privilege to lead music for the service following.

Food is love, they say. Well, we served up a heaping helping of love this evening. We had pulled pork with my homemade barbecue sauce, baked beans, loaded potato salad, horseradish cole slaw, soda bread, and peach cobbler -- all made from scratch. (Okay, we used canned peaches. Shoot me.) We had no idea how many would actually come, so I planned for a hundred, and we cooked a whole mountain range of food.

My first joy was those who helped me. Deanne helped me with prep Saturday afternoon. Then our happy Venturing Crew piled in to finish the job this afternoon. We are small, but mighty, and I can honestly say, There is no other group I have ever worked with who are so good at this and so dedicated to gettin' 'er done. On top of all their hard work, the youth decided the Crew would pay for the pork; the rest of the meal was on me, my personal contribution to some causes and people who mean more to me than I can say.

Then, there was the joy of feeding people. It was a small gathering, but my goodness. Such a group of clergy and laity! They came from as far away as Tell City, Lafayette, and Huntington. Our Associate District Superintendent, John Davis, came (yay!). Among the Confessing Movement members in attendance, there must have been at least six General or Jurisdictional Conference delegates -- not counting Joseph Mulongo, who is Head of Delegation for the largest Annual Conference represented at Portland (Indiana has 16 General Conference delegates, half laity and half clergy; North Katanga has 62). And Bob Walters has been in the business of connecting people to people in mission for years. We took up a cash offering for causes in North Katanga. We took up an offering of scissors and shears for women's sewing schools. We talked church construction and pastors' bicycles and sawmills and scholarships. In just our small group, an amazing number of connections were aligning with each other. Such a privilege to be part of this gathering!

Not only were these people who make a difference in all kinds of ways, these were my people, my tribe. Lots of clergy families were represented here. These are people I see at Annual Conference and other events, with whom I fight the good fight. We get so few chances to gather and visit. And considering how emotionally and socially isolated most clergy families are, the chance to be together in fellowship and good purpose is a blessing beyond what I can say. Not only that, but a couple of lay members of a church down south a bit were old Scouters. We talked a lot about things we hold in common, too. And there were some young people there, too. Bob and Amy Land's two teens were there, and our own grandcubs (who helped cook the meal).

And then we went upstairs to worship. Joseph talked about what The UMC is doing in Congo. We prayed for every Indiana delegate by name, and for the people and churches in DRC. We prayed for General Conference. To worship together was yet another joy.

After it was all over, Deanne and I set apart a bunch of leftovers for Wednesday Bible study. It's my turn to cook for that gathering, and so I said we'd have leftovers. What leftovers! And still there was an enormous amount of food. So Deanne called Middle Way House, where she volunteers on the crisis line, and asked if they could use some food. This is a shelter for battered women and children, and they've been full to overflowing of late. Yeah, they could use some food. So Deanne and I took a huge amount of some of the best food I have ever cooked and gave it to some people who are at a very harsh time in their lives. Ah, didn't Jesus say, When you throw a feast, don't invite those who can invite you back? Rather, invite the poor and the outcast. And so to give the people at Middle Way House the love inherent in our food was perhaps the greatest joy of all.

Unless it was to have spent such a wonderful weekend doing things together with Deanne.

And now, the pix!

by Bob 1

Mulongo comes to Ellettsville
Photo by Bob Walters

by Anna

Me, tuning up while waiting for folks to arrive
Photo by Anna Waite

by Beth 1

Handsome Boy
Photo by Beth Cook


The feed begins
The endless buffet


Missions Promotion
FPM Table


Rev. Sam and Melissa Padgett
God love 'em, they chaperoned a PROM last night -- and still came to the dinner!

by Bob 2

Aging folkie
Photo by Bob Walters

by Beth 2

Joseph speaking at EFUMC
Photo by Beth Cook

by Bob 3

Art, Joseph, Beth
Photo by Bob Walters

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