Is Cooking a Ministry?
For the past 40 years, 30 of which has been ordained ministry I have used cooking as a task or teaching point. I have used cooking when working with Youth Ministry, Retreats, Christian Formation, Bible Studies, Acolyte training, Lenten Programs, Outdoor/Camping Ministry, Confirmation Classes, Holy Communion Enrichment training, Steward Programs, Fellowship events, Intergenerational programs, Outreach Projects and of course “The Gathering” an inner city feeding program. Needless to say I have used it extensively. My ministry, my youth, and my family life has been shaped and centered around cooking, but I never considered it ministry.
When I left one of my parish assignments the interim priest presented me with an Icon of Abraham serving the three messengers (Genesis 18:1-7), with a note saying, “ Follow Abraham’s example and continue with your cooking ministry.”Cooking Ministry? I never looked at cooking as a ministry; it was just a tool I was able to use in doing the other ministries I was involved in. I talked to my sister and asked her if what we have been doing all these years in the kitchen was a ministry. We decided to pray about it and let the Holy Spirit lead us. Over the next few weeks we were getting insights to our prayers. Answers were coming to us from the Sunday’s readings and Bibles Studies. For example the reading from Maundy Thursday, the command, to take bread and wine to make it into the Body and Blood of Christ (Luke 22:19); the Post resurrection appearance of Christ walking with the disciples and they did not know him until he cooked them fish on the shore (John 21:2-14); The feeding of the thousands (Matthew 14:14-21).
We started asking others that were involved in cooking, “Is cooking a ministry?" As we listen to their stories it became clear that indeed cooking is a ministry. The Book of Common Prayer in the Outline of the Faith tells us that ministry is to represent Christ and his church, to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and according to the gifts given to them. That is what we were hearing from others as they told us how they were experiencing cooking as a ministry in their lives and work.
As Liddy and I prayed and talked to each we were convinced that we were being called to uplift to others in this wonderful gift of cooking, not just our stories and experiences but also the stories and experiences of others. We would like to collect these stories, publish them on this website, or some other media.
We would also like to know how we could help you in this ministry, and let the Holy Spirit lead us.