Berkswich Luncheon Club - update Apr12

Monday, 16 April, 2012

Jeff ReynoldsThe good news is that Berkswich Luncheon Club has grown! It now meets twice a month and has the new kitchen it's members dreamed of. Superintendent Minister Jeff Reynolds updates the story.

Watch Jeff, and Rosemary Cooke, update the story below.

The luncheon club still meets within the church hall and does very much the same as it already has. We have hit on a successful formula, so why change it?

The clientele are mainly elderly, but continue to eat a 3 course meal together and have the opportunity to talk to one another and also the minister and members of the church, in a setting that is relaxed and develops those strong pastoral links.

Berkswich Luncheon Club - serving at tableThere is a real sense of community there. It was never set up to bring people to the Sunday service. To me, Wednesday lunch at 12.30 is just as important as Sunday at 10.30am. This is church.

When the team reflect back to the early days, they would never have considered they would could have managed twice a month. It essentially felt very resource-heavy to cook 60 cooked meals, but now they can do it - and they can do it comfortably.

Berkswich Luncheon Club - soupWe don't have an idea of where it is going... you have to be lead by God and for that reason we don't know what shape it may take but we continue to serve and share food together, as Jesus did.

We are also beginning church in a pub on a Sunday night. Again, we don't know how it will develop but we love a challenge and it's so important to build relationships with those around us.

Jeff Reynolds, Superintendent Minister, updates the story of Berkswich Luncheon Club.

Duration: 4:52   | Download Download video (flv) | Download Download video (wmv) | View on YouTube


Rosemary Cooke: We're Berkswich Luncheon Club from Stafford. We meet twice a month for lunch. The people who come are from the area - some come to church, some don't, a lot of them come from the community. It started ten years ago and we started with six people sitting around a table having lunch together and from there it's developed and developed until now we have got over 60 people on the book. And we've been fundraising for a new kitchen for four years now. We have now got the new kitchen, it is absolutely fantastic and we decided that we could now cook on the premises whereas we had to cook at home and bring it in before. We've got more and more people now, the word is getting around, from the community.

Jeff Reynolds: The Berkswich Luncheon Club may appear on the surface to just be a luncheon club, a chance for elderly people to meet together to eat, but actually it's so much more than that. When the church looked at its mission, and the mission particularly in connecting with its community, it realised that through the demographics, much of the community in which it's set were elderly people, and often were on their own during the day. And so the idea of bringing them together around a meal was born. And so we brought people in, we've been able to share with them about all sorts of issues around good food. And so many people wanted to come it became a place where people met, but it became more than that. Because it was part of the church's mission it became a chance for people to exercise that mission to the community that we couldn't ever do on a Sunday. So we do it on a Wednesday lunchtime. And it really hit home to me when one of the ladies who comes to the luncheon club said to me, this is my church. And I know exactly what she meant. She wasn't talking about Sunday, she was talking about Wednesday. And the fact we met once a month and we now meet twice a month and we might have to go to once a week because there is such a need for people to come together in fellowship to ask questions, to share, to spend time, that transcends just a group of people meeting to eat food. In my eyes it is a fresh and a new expression of what church is about and particularly for the church community themselves, they've grasped onto it and realised now what is possible in the mission field, that doesn't have to be on the Sunday and that can be a totally different expression of church in the way that they've traditionally understood it.

[...the opportunity of coming together today, to eat a meal together and for the fellowship. Lord take care of all those who are ill or bereaved at this time. Amen.]

Female voice 1: It's more informal than a service, obviously... well I was going to say we don't eat at a service but we had simnel cake on Sunday, there's coffee afterwards and time to talk, but it's not so easy when you're sitting in rows to talk to people and it's much easier face to face over a table.

Female voice 2: Yes I've been housebound since October, so I welcome the opportunity to be able to come to somewhere like this. It was my friend who told me about it and I was very keen to come and I've really enjoyed it since I've started here. Enabled me to get out and meet people and to socialise.

Male voice 1: It is a form of outreach which is something that we are trying to do.

Female voice 3: I think it's got to be the fellowship, working together to produce the meal and the satisfaction of seeing people enjoying it as well.

Female voice 4: And we're a happy group of people...

Female voice 3: We all get on well together, yeah.

Rosemary Cooke: There's about 50-50 - 50% come from the church - are already churched people, 50% are from the community.

Male voice 2: This is my second visit to the luncheon club, both of which I've enjoyed immensely. Firstly because of the company and secondly because of the quality of the food. It's freshly cooked, it's hot and it's extremely tasteful.

Rosemary Cooke: When we ask people if they would like to come to luncheon club, or we get referrals, we say to them, we'd love you to come, we're in a church, but we don't expect you to come to church on a Sunday morning. If you do come, that would be lovely but we don't expect it.

Jeff Reynolds: For me Berkswich Luncheon Club is not a step towards Sunday. I'm not actually that bothered if any of them don't come on a Sunday or not, that's immaterial. They come on a Wednesday and they meet in fellowship on a Wednesday and that's great, that's fantastic. We're not a stepping stone to 'proper church', we are church.

This story is an update to:


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
We use spam protection. View privacy policy.