It seems ironic that after my last Post (You See What You Look For), a heartbreaking example of this has come about in my life. In 2011, in response to a mission statement of First Christian Church Hutchinson, a lady named, at that time, Kay Deal (about a year later she changed her name to Kay Bell when she became my wife) founded The Bread and Cup Ministry as a ministry of the church to the homeless and the needy. Last Sunday by vote of the official board of First Christian Church, Hutchinson, this highly successful ministry was abolished. Kay’s response to this deserves to be read and I’d like to place it now on my blog:
What a sad day for the people of Hutchinson. What had been a refuge for the tired, hungry and lonely has been abolished by the official Board of First Christian Church. The Bread and Cup Ministry of First Christian Church in Hutchinson was established December 18, 2011, to care for the homeless and needy, and has been open every Friday since that time. It has grown from 2 people on the first Friday to anywhere from 60-100 people being able to get out of the weather, relax, play games (if they chose) or to just sit and talk to people who really cared about them and were on a first name basis with most of them. No one was turned away unless they were causing trouble, which can be expected on occasion, but that was not the majority.
Friday was chosen as the day to be open because that is a day the Christian Soup Ministry is closed, and we could provide them with a hot meal, leaving them only 2 days a week to not have a meal provided. How many of us go 2 days with nothing to eat?
There have been many faithful servants to this ministry. To name them would be a disservice, lest someone be left out. You know who you are and how much your faithfulness was appreciated. Not only have people contributed food and clothing, but many businesses and churches in Hutchinson have also participated. Without all of you this mission would not have been the success it has been.
In addition to food, people have been able to receive vouchers for laundry services (paid for by the Bread and Cup Ministry), clothing from a huge clothing pantry and occasionally a “Care Package” of canned or easily prepared food, to take home, especially at the end of the month when resources are short.
The Mission Statement of First Christian Church, Hutchinson is “To be a nurturing community to a hungry world.” It is so sad that fear of people that may not smell as good as you want, or have manners as good as you want, or social attributes that you find so attractive, are not going to be allowed in your “beautiful building”! Will Jesus be allowed to enter if He visits?
These are the words of Jesus taken from Matthew 25:37-40: “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?
The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
Kay Bell, Founder of Bread and Cup Ministry
The people, God’s children all, will come Friday with expectation of a good meal and instead, with no warning, will find a locked church. How very, very sad!