‘You don’t need to do anything fancy – cereal and toast will be plenty!’ Ron Elsdon of St. Bartholomew’s Church on Belfast’s Stranmillis Road soon found out early in 2003 that people don’t always listen to their rector…
He was asking a parish group called Men Together if they would be willing to organise an Easter Sunday breakfast. Yes, they took to the idea straight away, and within minutes they were planning who would cook the Ulster Fry!
The breakfast was so successful that it is now a major event in the annual calendar of events at St. Bartholomew’s. This year some 6o people, some after the early Holy Communion and many before the 10.30am service sat down together to a feast sumptuous enough to make some think twice about whether they could face Easter eggs, let alone a main meal at 1pm!
The work was done by three teams of men – Bill Ebbage organised the team which cooked the food, Ken Powles a team of waiters, and the washing up was tackled by Jonathan Hodgins, Russell Kerr and others.
Ron says the event is important. “It’s not just a matter of wolfing down some rather tasty bacon and eggs. On a day of celebration, why not make having a parish meal together part of the celebration?”
Ron also believes that events like this help people get to know each other better – even people who have seen each other in church for years but never known each others’ names.
Ron also sees as significant the way that in scripture significant things happen when people sit down and eat together. Particularly significant on Easter Sunday is the story in Luke 24 of Cleopas and his companion trudging home to Emmaus and finding themselves talking to a ‘stranger’. After explaining the scriptures to them, they only realised who it was when they all sat down to eat together (verse 30f.).