This week’s article is written by Ruth Young, who heads up the dinner ministry at the Nast Trinity Downtown Campus.
The Nast Trinity Sunday dinners started in 1983 when Sally and Ed Berg, Urban Missionaries who came to Cincinnati for one year but never left, felt called to feed the hungry neighbors they saw around the church every Sunday. Sally recruited partner churches and other organizations to provide food and volunteers every week. She supervised and hosted as the guests were served—no cafeteria line—hot meals. My 25+ years of serving in this ministry began when Hyde Park Community UMW answered Sally’s call. Our church has provided and served the meals at least three Sundays per year from the early days.
When Sally retired after 25 years of Sundays, it took four of us to replace her: Mary Ann Foster, Jill Colaw, Diane Weaver, and I, joined more recently by Barbara and Jim Hunter, taking turns confirming food and volunteers, hosting and assisting with serving each week. Yes, there are Sundays when I am dragging, wanting nothing more than a quiet afternoon at home, but once I get there I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I am always blessed by the energetic and committed volunteers and by the smiles of the friends I have made among our regular dinner guests. No, I don’t know all of their names or stories, but a warm hug and hello make all the difference.
Why does our church and others in the Cincinnati area continue to support this ministry? A couple shared these comments recently after their first experience of serving Sunday dinner: “For the most part, the people we met warmed our hearts, broke our hearts and made us realize even more that we have so much to be thankful for. As we were walking back to our car, we passed the City Gospel Mission and there were some men from the first table we served and they waved. WOW! We had made friends in that brief moment of time. You can see and feel God working in this area of Cincinnati.”
How can you get involved? When we invite 250 guests for dinner every Sunday, we always need a lot of help! This means that HPCUMC serves about 750 dinners each year and Nast Trinity services almost 12,000 per year. On the Sundays when we provide and serve the meal, you can make a chicken casserole, bake brownies, or join the serving team. I also welcome offers of “call me if you need me” for those weeks when we need more help at the last minute. If none of these work for you, we also welcome donations to cover the cost of paper products and beverages. Before each Hyde Park serving week, you can ask questions and sign up for a task at our table in the Welcome Center.
The Nast Trinity Sunday Dinner Ministry has blessed my life in more ways that I can count, and I would love to have the opportunity to share this blessing with you.
Ronda Deel assisted in the writing of this article