For years the folks at Messiah Moravian have done what most churches do in answer to the hunger needs in our community. We held periodic food drives when the helping agencies in Winston-Salem asked for specific food items. We responded with gifts of food at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We participated in the Crop Walk each October. Special needs of Sunnyside Ministry and Hospice and Ronald McDonald House appeared in our bulletins and newsletters. We will continue to do all those things.
But in August of 2012, in response to an urgent request for food assistance from Sunnyside Ministry, our pastor Truman Dunn challenged us to do more for our neighbors in need, much more. During our worship service on August 5th, he told us of an extreme shortage of donated food at the Food Bank. He read a letter from Sunnyside Ministry, a crisis intervention agency of the Moravian Church, that explained in sharp detail how dire the need was for a quick and lasting response to the needs of individuals and families facing food insecurity issues.
Pastor Dunn said that on the following Sunday we would begin what he called a sacramental food offering during our worship service. He asked that all of us bring non-perishable food items to church every Sunday. He said that, during the regular offertory time, we would come to the front of the sanctuary and place this weekly donation on the Communion Table as a visible example of our compassion for those less fortunate people around us who struggle to put a healthy meal on their table. This offering has become the centerpiece of our Sunday Worship service. The response of the Messiah congregation since August 2012 has been remarkable. Thousands of food items have been donated for families in need.
Messiah Moravian Church is a small family with a big heart and a brave soul. The message in our sacramental food offering is simple. That message is that we think it is our duty to do what we can to alleviate hunger and the problems it causes in our community. Not only is that the right thing to do but it is the compassionate thing to do as well. The world will never be a just and peaceful place for any of us until it is a just and peaceful place for all of us.
— Roma Combs
Justice is compassion raised to an institutional level.