By Rev. Kevin Ogilve, St. James, Lexington
On the Tuesday after the Sunday-Monday rains that produced the worst flood in a thousand years, the pastor and church secretary began calling all the members to check in on them. Before they had gotten very far, some members stopped by the church to say they had to do something. There were hungry people and there were exhausted first responders. By Wednesday night a spaghetti supper was organized for that Friday to be served in downtown Columbia for the police, firemen, DOT workers and any homeless who might need something to eat. They did not know how many to plan for and so decided that one hundred meals should be sufficient.
The food was set out at 4pm on Friday afternoon and there were, at first, few takers. It was approaching shift change for the first responders and so people were not quite there yet. A couple of homeless folks came by and joyfully received dinner. They were especially grateful for the salad and soft drinks. There was still a boil-water advisory in effect and it was a warm day. Recognizing that the first responders couldn’t come yet, boxes were packed with to-go dishes and sent to the various departments. A fire truck and a police car served as delivery vehicles along with church member cars.
One mother came with her two children. She is a police officer on one shift, her husband an officer on another. Because of the flooding there is no child care available. She was overwhelmed and grateful not to have to prepare a meal. The homeless folk told their friends and soon there were more.
In all 170 meals were served although the church prepared only for 100. Leftovers were taken back to the church and the congregation had an impromptu meal after worship on Sunday. Leftovers from that meal went on to a flood relief feeding program run by Pleasant Springs Church at Christ Mission!
As the Sunday service began the acolyte mistakenly lit the Paschal Candle which symbolizes the Risen Christ’s presence in the Easter season, at funerals and at baptisms – at baptisms when we remind ourselves that we have been saved by water through the floods. No one at St. James sustained any significant damage, but they knew Christ’s presence and responded.