The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A miracle in Kansas

Dwell in the word, then in the kitchen

It's no secret that doing something for others can help people regain a sense of purpose, perhaps even put a spring in their step. There's some pretty good evidence in Kansas that the same can be said about a church.

Alix Pridgen is a third-career pastor of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Prairie Village, Kan., just south of Kansas City. Last fall she had an idea, a nudge from the Spirit really, that pushed its way right into a sermon.

Susan Pfannmuller<BR><BR>Mike Duff
Mike Duff and his daughter, Mary Anne, 10, help prepare breakfast at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Prairie Village, Kan.

In some ways it's no surprise that, as Pridgen said, "we were being called to feed the masses." Resurrection and five other churches were well into "Dwelling in the Word" (lectio divina or contemplative Scripture reading) with John 6:1-15, the story of the feeding of the 5,000.

And the Spirit apparently has no regard for a pastor's day off because that's when the idea for a meal ministry came to Pridgen, who soon discovered sobering poverty and hunger statistics about wealthy Johnson County. "I asked [program directors] if they believed a hot meal was needed in our area, and I thought they'd crawl through the phone line and hug me," Pridgen recalled. No organization was offering a meal in this county, where poverty had tripled in the past three years.

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Embracing diversity