A few weeks ago I was invited out to breakfast by someone I’d never heard of. She was complimentary about my blog, though, and promised good food and a goodie bag to take away, so I went along.
It was a bloggers’ breakfast, held at Southwark Cathedral, and was to raise awareness of this year’s Christian Aid Week (15th-21st May 2016).
In previous years, Christian Aid week has involved thousands of volunteers delivering millions of little paper envelopes to homes across the UK, then returning a week later hoping that some of the householders will return the envelopes with a donation inside. This year they’re trying something different.
They’re asking people to host a ‘Big Brekkie’ – gathering friends, neighbours, colleagues or whoever, feeding them breakfast, and showing them a short film telling the stories of the kind of family they hope to help, and the difference donations can make to their lives.
You could host a vast, elaborate breakfast cooked by a team (and cleaned up by another!), or simply buy some fruit and croissants for yourself and a few friends. Or perhaps make a gigantic pot of porridge – especially if we have a particularly cold May! We were treated to bacon, sausage or egg rolls, huge bowls of fruit and delicious pastries.
I was really impressed with the quality of the resources produced and of the event as a whole. It was fun – fun to be invited out to breakfast (I’m not the sort of person who has a lot of breakfast meetings), fun to meet new people and do a bit of networking, fun to visit an iconic building (most of us won’t be able to host in such a cool venue, of course), and fun to learn about how the most important meal of your day can become life changing for an individual or family around the world.
Building community, fighting poverty
I was also struck by something they said about how eating a meal together creates and cultivates community. I’m a bit of a loner; I find it hard to push myself out into social situations, yet some of my best memories have been formed over a meal table. When friends, families, strangers or all of the above sit down together and share food, there is time to talk, to get to know each other, to laugh together and, on occasion, to cry together.
In the book of Acts we are told that ‘there was no needy person’ among the believers. That doesn’t mean that it was a middle-class religion right from the start, but that the community was so strong that they all, by the grace of God, took care of one another’s needs. The Christian Aid staff were quick to point out that they realise we won’t end global – or even community – poverty in one week, but we can begin to create community and begin to end poverty. We can make a difference to individuals now, and start to make a difference for communities for the long term.
I was inspired. I’m thinking and praying about how and where I could hold or participate in a Big Brekkie (given my and my friends’ lifestyles and work schedules, I’m wondering whether an evening event might work best – breakfast-for-dinner could be fun). What do you think? Could you host a Big Brekkie and fight poverty with porridge?