This guest post by Wendy Alsup explores how the local church can welcome, include, and minister to single parents. It is part of my “Welcoming…” series, which features first-person articles on how to welcome various demographics into our lives and church communities. Previous installations include “Welcoming the Hearing Loss Community” and “Welcoming the Eating Disorder Community.”
My little church plant in the Lowcountry of South Carolina has many single parents. On a given Sunday with 40 in attendance, at least 15 regular attenders are single parents and their children. Most are single mothers with primary custody of their children. Continue reading “Welcoming Single Parents”
In this second post in a two-part series, guest author Holly Stallcup offers practical advice for practicing hospitality with those who battle eating disorders. Read Part 1 here.
Part 2 — Welcoming to the Table
Most days my relationship with food is contentious at best, and similarly, there are more than a few days a month that contentious would be an appropriate word to describe my relationship with God. Yet the intersection of food and God, food and faith, has in recent years become a place of hope, excitement, peace, and solace.
The solution to my complicated relationship with food is not to avoid the table but rather to be welcomed to it over and over again, letting the healing come one bite, one smile, one story at a time. To offer the gift of hospitality to your friends with eating disorders is to offer healing and redemption. In fact, the eating disorder community may be one of the most important groups of people to which you will ever offer hospitality.
So how do we do this? How do we offer hospitality to those with eating disorders and disordered eating, especially when food is such a central component of hospitality? Continue reading “Welcoming the Eating Disorder Community (Part 2)”
Several weeks ago, I posted a question on Twitter about practicing hospitality with those who battle eating disorders. Several chimed in with thoughts and tips. One voice stood out though.
Holly’s thread of advice struck me as inciteful, well-informed, and gracious. I wanted to hear more. So, I invited her to write a guest piece for my blog. She agreed. I am happy to publish her thoughts in this two-part series.
Part 1 — The Church and the Table
When we read the Gospels, it seems impossible to ignore the presence of the table. The breaking of bread, the drinking of wine, and gathering in homes is central to the rhythm of Jesus’s life, a rhythm that we as Christians are called to emulate. But somewhere over the centuries, we have decentered, if not completely forgotten, the table, the home, and the hospitality of our faith practice. Today in Christian culture we are almost always more likely to listen to a sermon, do a Bible study, participate in a service project, attend a conference—and on and on—before we ever make it to the table if we ever make it there at all.
Our lack of attention and narrow focus around food and bodies is a massive problem. Because whether we as the Church choose to center on food or not, we live in a culture that centers on food—and on a more fundamental level, we all must eat to live. Continue reading “Welcoming the Eating Disorder Community (Part 1)”