There’s a lot of fun, good food and Bible study going on at Burns United Methodist Church every other Wednesday morning, beginning at 11 a.m.
And everyone is invited and welcomed, from the entire congregation to people throughout the community.
“Soup for Senior’s” is a new program that began in November and has been going strong ever since. The idea was conceived and brought to a boil by the church’s pastor, Chris Diggs, who has been the pastor at Burns United Methodist since 2013.
“Soup for Senior’s started in early November,” Pastor Diggs said. “What we wanted to do was enhance our senior’s ministry, first and foremost by spreading the Gospel and secondly, by giving our seniors something to look forward to.”
Pastor Diggs said he had studied the growth of the historically notable, predominantly African American church, and had observed most of the focus was on youth programs — which he saw as a good thing. Still, Pastor Diggs had always believed more care was due to the seniors of the congregation and the surrounding communities.
“Special attention should go to our seniors,” he said, “primarily for their leadership and guidance. We really had no programs for our senior citizens here at Burns United. And from the attendance today, you can see that we have seniors who really look forward to this, from our church and from the community. It has also open to everyone and you don’t have to be a senior to come.
Before the luncheon, there’s a brief Bible study for guests and then it’s mostly about fellowship, fun and really good food. Pastor Diggs said “Soup for Senior’s” is held the first and third Wednesday of each month. The Bible study begins at 11 a.m. and goes until about 11:15 a.m. The group spends the rest of the time eating soup and enjoying fellowship with one another.
Pastor Diggs said he sees the program continuing and expanding.
“Naturally, no one wants to eat soup in April and May because it’ll be warmer,” he said. “We’re in the process now of enhancing this ministry to go beyond soup, to maybe have a potluck dinner or something. We’re not sure to what magnitude we’re going to expand, but we’re definitely going to keep it going.”
Pastor Diggs explained the food is prepared by the church members and that he himself does one crock pot-full-of-soup personally every luncheon.
“I think I have to set the example,” he said. “I’m not going to ask someone else to do something that I’m not going to do.”
Another reason Pastor Diggs is devoted to the seniors is that he never knew his father and grew up with his grandparents.
“My grandmother taught me how to cook as a boy, so I know how to prepare soup,” Pastor Diggs said. “So I’m very partial to our seniors.”
Pastor Diggs prepared a hearty, homemade version of cowboy stew for the luncheon. Church members chipped in with two more crock pots filled with other delicious soups.
“I’m not sure what’s in the other two crock pots,” he said. “But I guarantee you it’s good, whatever it is — just as phenomenal as the response to the program has been.”
He believes that giving their seniors something to look forward to has played a large part in the success of the program and enhancing the participant’s fellowship.
Arletha Collins is the oldest member of the church, at 94. Collins said she loves coming to the “Soup for Senior’s” day.
“It means so much to me,” Collins said, “just to be able to get out of the house and visit with people. I enjoy it so much.”
Burns United Methodist Church is located at 600 Molly Barr Road.
Story and Photos by Angela Rogalski. Angela is a HottyToddy.com staff writer and great lover of traditional African American churches and great Gospel music.