Since 2007, First Christian Church in Paducah is the place to be for the community breakfast on the second Saturday of the month. According to the director and head chef, W.R. Sanders, this event began in response to vandalism of the playground equipment at the church. Realizing the need for replacing the needed equipment, W.R. started a men’s breakfast group to help raise money. It wasn’t long before funds were in hand to install new playground items for the church. And it also wasn’t long before the idea of a great breakfast expanded to the whole community. Now, every month, about 200 people come early on Saturday.
These days, at 8 am on the second Saturday every month, the menu is prepared and ready for everyone who shows up. With a crew of twelve persons, W.R. directs a fine offering of scrambled eggs, thick-cut bacon, ham, fresh-cut hash-browns, biscuits, and sausage gravy served on china plates along with orange juice, milk, and lots of coffee. The choreography is impressive as the crew members check on supplies of food, help persons to their seats if needed, and gather up dishes and clear tables.
Thursdays are scheduled for shopping, with a couple of merchants in town providing discounts and community support. Fridays, the potatoes are cut, and everything is prepped for the massive cooking event on Saturday morning. Everyone on the crew has a job and it happens like a wonderful performance of caring and kindness.
The organizers share that they have helped significantly with over 65 different projects. In addition to the playground equipment, they have provided fencing for play yards, help with overseas mission work, a needed roof replacement, and donations to help families recover from fires in the community.
The community breakfast welcomes everyone—firefighters on duty bring the trucks and have a big breakfast while they talk to the people in their neighborhood; persons in need come and have great food and a sincere welcome. Yes, some church members come, but they are not the majority. It’s even possible that those original vandals have come to breakfast. There were people there from about 12 months to 94 years this October Saturday. By the time the event was over at 10 am, all the dishes were done, the kitchen and fellowship hall clean, and the coffee was finished!
What makes this a special ministry? Certainly, the teamwork needed to pull off this big event every month is outstanding. Realizing that this is an ongoing outreach of the congregation, the participants and preparers know their work is important. What makes this a special ministry? The buzz of conversation throughout the morning is evidence that people are talking to one another, asking how things are going, shooting the breeze, getting acquainted with new neighbors, in general, showing care and concern for one another. In the background, there is a continuous-loop DVD of information and pictures about the ministries of the church projected on a large-screen TV. Word gets out, but everyone knows who does this lively ministry of breakfast!
No doubt hundreds of thousands of eggs, hundreds of pounds of ham, bacon, and potatoes have been used over the years. Lots of dishes have been washed. Some of the friends who began this ministry have gone on from this life. The mission remains strong. It may take a village to live in this world, but it often takes just one person with an idea for ministry and mission to start a cascade of care. Breakfast and a warm welcome will always be found on the second Saturday in Paducah!
CCK Associate Regional Minister for the West Area