Presbyterians Today

JUN-JUL 2018

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28 JUNE/JULY 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay a meaningful way," Goodwin said. "Something about food touches our lives, as well as our spiritual lives. Our spiritual life is wrapped up in this." In addition, the church has established a kitchen ministry with a goal of empowering people with the skills to prepare inexpensive, healthy meals with foods that are readily available in the region. The church's mission statement reads: "In this work we seek to gather people into meaningful relation- ships around food, remembering the central role that meals and sharing a table played in Jesus' ministry." The church offers cooking classes at the Crawford Community Kitchen in the Millwood Community Center next to the church. Beth Aaron teaches these cooking classes to local residents, some of whom are refugees. With a $5,000 Presbyterian Hunger Program grant and support of the local presbytery, the kitchen ministry joined with Second Harvest as a Spokane satellite kitchen for Cooking Matters, a nutrition education program. "This is a well-organized and easy-to-implement program," Aaron said. "There are four cooking lessons offered on Wednesday evenings that are very basic. We teach our clients to eat a variety of colors every day, and to choose whole grains whenever possible. A nutritional lesson is a part of the cooking lessons." Students spend about 20 minutes in the classroom, and then they move to the kitchen for a one-hour cooking class. Some of the food is prepped prior to cooking and set up around two 8-foot stainless steel tables for up to 10 students. Some of the students are teams of two, a parent and child learning together. The classes are open to all in the community at no cost. Aaron says that some people attend just to have a meal to take home to their families. The cost of the food is covered by the grant. Millwood offered five series of the classes in 2017, up from two series in 2016. Why does Aaron, a retired regis- tered nurse, do what she does? "I believe people have gifts and I've never been one to lead a group. I've always been more of a 'participa- tor' — behind-the-scenes person. The kitchen ministry started with con- versations at an after-school program we have here. When mothers picked up their children I'd often hear, 'I don't want to go home and cook after working all day.' For me, this is a way to fill a gap; a way for me to realize my gift, to make an impact without preaching," she said. And in feeding the hungry, another hunger is met — the hunger to be part of a community and a family. "I tell every volunteer who helps to feed the hungry to think about who do you love the most in your life? Who do you love more than anything? Whoever that is, put their face on the person who is coming through the door. We don't know the path they are on, or how they got there. I tell them, 'Just listen, give comfort,' " Aaron said. Sherry Blackman is the pastor of Presbyterian Church of the Mountain in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania. CRAIG GOODWIN Millwood Community Presbyterian Church is living out its mission statement "to gather people into meaningful relationships around food." Free cooking classes are open to all and are held in the community center next door to the church.

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