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sunday supper church, wider tables + feeding people

hi. long time, no chat. i can't believe how busy it's been–creating a church, writing curriculum, building a new business, and most importantly--snuggling my pup Maddox.

speaking of all of this: a few updates!

for the last year and a half, we've been creating a new expression of church--Sunday Supper Church. many of us were tired of gathering for church in dark auditoriums listening to (only) white men speak on faith and following Jesus. we imagined a church were everyone led and participated, gathered around beautiful tables of food, and loved our neighbors by (among other things) being active in politics.

since september 2017, we've been gathering twice a month on sunday evenings. we’ve created a food share program in which we make food monthly for non-profits doing important work in chicago, and we’ve actively engaged in politics by registering voters, discussing relevant social issues, and taking steps toward making food fair for all.

all of this has been incredible. truly the most lovely thing i've done with my life thus far.

in the meantime, i’ve continued with my lemon lime kids curriculum writing + church consulting in order to provide my part of the income needed for our family. i’m so grateful for all of the projects the last year has brought.

but, the deeper i get into gathering people around sacred tables of food, the hungrier i am (see what i did there?) to spend more of my time doing this. i imagine beautiful dinner parties for those experiencing homelessness, lectures centered on food scarcity and making food fair for all, and inspiring people with practical tools for gathering, engaging, and making good food around any table they find themselves at. i dream of spending full days creating sacred + wide tables.

so. that's what i'm going to do. for the last few months, i've been transitioning away from the children's curriculum i've done for more than 20 years (!), and i've begun building a new business that will include all sorts of initiatives for helping people create wider tables.

first up: a podcast. mid-november, i'll be launching a podcast called Feeding People, in which i'll sit down for a meal with guests who are feeding people in all sorts of creative ways--chefs, pastors, bakers and soup kitchen volunteers—for a conversation about the magic of the table, and how we all can feed people.

next up: an event. spring 2019, i'll be hosting an event in chicago for people looking to pastor in new ways, including: gathering around tables, engaging in politics, and creating inclusive communities. i think about this EVERY SINGLE DAY. mainly because i wish i’d had an event like this to attend 10 years ago.

finally: i will continue taking on new curriculum clients as i have capacity. BUT, i'm only accepting clients who are interested in creating lessons that inspire kids' faith in ways that value diversity, inclusion, and a God who calls women to lead + create churches.

if you're interested in any of these things—and the journey of making a church and a new business—follow along on instagram or send an email to if you see ways we might work together.

more love, wider tables.


in loving memory, Jimmy

on friday, we grieved the death of our dear friend, Jimmy. Jimmy was a kind man, who lived with integrity and wisdom, and was a central part of Sunday Supper Church. Jimmy was actively involved with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and lived in permanent supportive housing at Breakthrough. at his memorial, we all shared stories, ate cookies, played music, planted a tree and wrote notes to him on balloons. it was sweet & sad, and a moment i'll treasure forever. 

when we began Sunday Supper Church last year, we dreamed of a place where a diverse group of people would preach to each other, seated around a table, eating dinner, reflecting the divine & human image of Jesus. my personal theology believes that Jesus's very favorite people are the poor, and that we're all better when we listen & follow those with little money. i remember meeting with Arloa at Breakthrough, early on in the planning of SSC, asking her advice on how to create a table for all. she said it was difficult, but the key was to authentically & organically follow the poor.  

we did our best to take her advice, believing that Jesus's pastors & prophets were those experiencing homelessness. for thanksgiving, we created the widest table our space could hold, and invited friends from Breakthrough to join us for a friendsgiving celebration. this was the first night we met Jimmy! he walked in with his wise & peaceful presence, smiling kindly, and making us feel like instant friends. my friends courtney & karen set up a glam station that night, so that all of us could have our hair done, and Jimmy was the first in line, looking sharp in his fresh cut. 

in the months that followed, Jimmy showed up sunday-after-sunday, sharing & listening, reflecting the peaceful presence of Jesus each time. at his final Sunday Supper Church, as we focused our conversation on our enemies, Jimmy preached his most powerful sermon around the table. as we each shared specifics about our enemies, Jimmy leaned back in his chair taking it all in. finally, when everyone had finished, i asked Jimmy who his enemy was. he said--i have no enemies. i live my life to be at peace with all. we were all silent as he spoke, all of us so consumed in those who had wronged us, we hadn't even paused to consider if not having enemies was a possibility for our lives. simple, powerful words that will forever guide our lives. 

here's the thing: i had spent A LOT of time preparing for that night. and a whole lot of time thinking about my enemies. but, never once, did i consider saying what Jimmy said. and THAT is the magic of the table, and the magic in inviting Jesus's favorites to the table. 

this coming sunday, Jimmy's friend John will lead us in communion. our theme is peace, and John will invite us to experience peace as we are fed by Jesus through the bread and cup. i named John our resident Prophet because he usually delivers God's messages to us in encouraging words & insight, and so to be led in communion by him, will be rich and powerful, and i guarantee we'll be fed by Jesus in ways none of us could have planned or led better. 

for me, this is church. we'll keep going, filling our tables wider & wider with Jesus's best people. 

Jimmy, we miss you, and our table is lacking because you are gone. we'll do our best to reflect the image of Jesus we learned from you & saw in you--sharing peace, wisdom, smiles, and kindness with all. we thank God for your life, and for the privilege of knowing you. 


{one} year @ sunday supper church

last week, we celebrated one year of gathering together as Sunday Supper Church! this started as a dream, an idea, a curiosity -- do people want to gather differently? 

and, one year later, here we are! gathered around the table, experiencing + creating church together, watching the movement of Jesus around us. and it's all too, too good. 

whatever the lord's supper is, it is everything that eating is. --hoyt hickman

a few reflections on the first year: 

we started this church almost a year ago because we noticed there were voices missing in the church. mainly: women, people of color, artists, the poor, and our gay + lesbian friends & family. we've done our best this last year to gather at the table, listen + learn from each other, and lead together. this year, multiple women led + pastored, men + women of color advised + led communion + planned our children's activities, the artists created photos + food + visuals + table decor + wood crafted ornaments, the poor PREACHED to us + taught us radical friendship, and our gay friends & family encouraged + led + financially gave. 

we believe all are made to reflect the beauty of Jesus, and i'm so thankful to have had my faith expanded this year as i saw Jesus in those at the table. 

you know, of course, what we believe about food. it's pure magic! a beautiful table of food gives us a moment to pause and reflect on Jesus's abundance, creativity, provision and creates an opportunity for equality (although not perfectly) as we eat the same food and look each other in the eye. 

when we began, i thought we'd experience the goodness of food only when we were gathered around the table on sunday nights. but, the president issued an executive order early in the year, and suddenly we were calling our friends at world relief chicago asking how we could help. the next week, we made lunch for their staff meeting, watched as they were encouraged in their important work, and suddenly our food share was born.

we spent the year looking for organizations doing good work in chicago, and then brought them food or paid for them to cater a supper church gathering. every single time, our faith was expanded as we were reminded: we aren't the experts in any of this work, there are organizations who are the experts, and our unique role is to encourage them to keep going by sharing beautiful food. i don't know all the specifics of Jesus math, but what i do know is that when you share food -- you are blessed, and we felt that over-and-over-and over.

{i've linked the organizations below. show some love!} 

finally, during the night last week, matt + jill talked about the power of showing up. that, for the last year, we had shown up on sundays, even when it was hard, or we were tired, or we would have rather stayed home. and we all shared stories about times we almost didn't show up {SO MANY TIMES!} but, matt + jill spoke to the power of showing up for each other + for ourselves -- that we're missed when not there, and as they spoke, i thought about the truth of their words. in a supper church of 40-50 people, gathered around a table, you don't always have room to hide which can sometimes make the experience scary + risky.

but, the reward, oh the reward this last year! showing up at the table, sharing our faith perspectives + learning from each other, being seen + affirmed is like nothing i've experienced before. 


so. more of all of this in 2018. we'll keep gathering twice a month for sunday suppers, we'll keep sharing food with great organizations, and we'll do our best to create wider tables wherever we go -- in our homes, at restaurants, in our church as we show up with so much love + care for each other. 


World Relief Chicago, Kovler Center, Girl Forward, Center on Halsted, Emmaus Ministries, Breakthrough, First Slice, Inspiration Kitchens, Honeydoe, Lexington Betty Smokehouse, Blue Sky Bakery, The Resurrection Project


love thy neighbor

yesterday, i made a giant batch of food, packaged it up, and left it on my neighbor's doorstep. that felt really, really good. caring for + loving friends is the best. 

but, BEING cared for, or taking care of myself? not as much fun. and not easy.

i've been thinking a lot lately about the complexity + weirdness of Jesus's words found in the bible:

One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?” Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” --Mark 12: 28-29 (MSG version)


love others as well as you love yourself. those words are so odd to me, given that most of us don't love ourselves well. why would how we love ourselves be the standard for how we love others?

#low #bar. 

most of my therapy appointments end with my counselor saying, "take care of yourself, Amy." to which i respond, "you got it! good idea! and, how should i do that specifically?" because i'm so self-care deficient, when she tells me to take care of myself, i don't even know what's she referring to. thankfully, she's kind, and reminds me EVERY TIME: sleep, work out, eat healthy, have fun, invite friends into your worries, cook, throw parties, try a new restaurant with your husband, cuddle the puppy, all the things that make you feel good and are good for you. right.

so, back to Jesus math: 

the greatest commandment (includes): loving myself well in order to love others well. 


loving myself well = letting others care for me. 

Queen Brene Brown says: if you're great at taking care of everyone around you, but you can't receive care when you're most in need, you really aren't as great as you think you are at giving care.  


my new emerging theory is this: one of the great evils running through our world today is our willingness to not take good care of or love ourselves. to put our personal needs, health, emotion, growth, joy on the back burner, making it less priority. because the less we love ourselves, the less we're able to authentically love others. and really, what a fantastically, effective, evil plot. 

at sunday supper church, we've been going through matthew 25 -- in which Jesus describes His location {if you're looking for Jesus, here's where He'll be}, and how we're to treat others:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.

this sunday, we'll focus on the sick. in preparation, i keep thinking about how i can't authentically visit the sick {and follow Jesus} unless i'm willing to be visited when i'm sick {which i'm usually not}. and that in order to follow Jesus, we must love otherselves well by being vulnerable when sick, and allowing friends + family + neighbors to care for us. this then turns our love + care for each other into authentic acts of love + grace. 

ok then.