At the beginning of 2009, pastors, government officials, citizens, and community leaders gathered to discuss how to care for the fast rising number of Noble County persons out of work and out of food.
The result was a wonderful synergy of the public, private, and faith based sectors who developed, under the leadership of the United Way of Noble County, the Community Table. Based at Trinity Church, United Methodist in Kendallville, the table serves free meals twice a week. Free meals are also served at Trinity’s sister congregation in Ligonier, on the west side of Noble County, at Ligonier United Methodist church.
Between the two sites, according to a report in our local paper, The Kendallville News-Sun, over 19,000 meals have been served since it began last March.
Now, again according to the News-Sun, LaOtto Wesleyan church, located in the Southeastern part of Noble County, will soon begin serving meals. Other locations, I believe are in process to offer meals as well.
CM has spawned a community garden that, at last report, has grown to three acres in size, and has I am told East Noble Students are helping to grow starter plants for the planting this season. Master gardeners and a group of other vital citizens have formed a board to help the Noble County resident, Bill Parker, who started the garden last spring.
I, along with several members of my congregation, serve the meal once a month at Trinity. It has been very gratifying to serve God and the community in this manner.
To me, it underscores the missional nature of rural and small town churches who continue to be vital partners in not just the spiritual life of a residents but a key player in the life and health of the community as a whole.