A Successful Day in Winston-Salem
On Friday and Saturday last week, about 180 people gathered at the 2011 Come to the Table conference in Winston-Salem. Bringing together pastors, lay leaders, experts in the fields of hunger and sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurs, farmworker advocates, and many others. Conference workshops were held on Friday, with site visits and practical tours on Saturday.
Many people said that the highlight of the day was simply meeting people in other congregations, ministries, and nonprofits who share the same vision of a state that supports its farmers and feeds everyone.
I was really happy to see that there was a strong ministry-oriented track for people who are leaders in their congregations.
For example, Wake Forest Divinity School Dean Gail R. O’Day presented a workshop on “Sowing From the Pulpit.” She challenged us to think about preaching as the act of creating an imaginative world for our congregations: “The lecture of a preacher about social justice doesn’t have much staying power… I can give you a health lecture, but my real job from the pulpit is to create an imaginative world where health matters. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have nutrition programs at your church. But what’s the vision that is going to make people want to participate?”
Later in the day, Rev. Jeremy Troxler spoke as part of a panel discussion on the theology of food and farming. In this workshop, Rev. Troxler walked us through a series of key theological statements that can help ground our thinking about this complex web of issues:
- Eating is about relationship
- Food is a gift
- God is Gardener or Giver
- Farming as Partnership, Eating as Participation
- Life as Prelude to the Feast
In all, it was an exciting day, filled with good food and conversations ranging from the key details (“What makes for good soil?”) to the big-picture (“How can we end hunger in NC?”). If you weren’t able to attend, I urge you to check out one of the two remaining conference dates: