Last Tuesday was what is known as Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday. It is the day before Lent starts, during which time people typically feast on pancakes in order to use up flour, butter, eggs, etc before fasting for Lent in the lead up to Easter. These days, people choose to fast on many other things besides just food (such as spending, social media, or swearing!). However, gathering to feast on pancakes is still a tradition many people choose to participate in.
The past couple of years at The Dale we have typically done our Pancake Tuesday feast outside in a to-go kind of way in order to be safe during Covid. With the help of a church partner turned dear friends from Christ Church St. James we would make hundreds of pancakes and sausages, put little butters and syrup together, and package all the food for our outside feast. The last time we gathered in person for Pancake Tuesday was February 2020.
However, this year Christ Church St James was having their Pancake Tuesday feast indoors again and invited us to join them! We were beyond excited to finally be gathering in person again for this feast and to eat together. We told and invited members of The Dale community, particularly our core Sunday group, and purchased Presto tickets so that people could make the short journey from Parkdale to the church.
Once there, we were free to choose seats. A few small groups of us spread out and sat together and we were welcomed, prayed over, and served. There was plenty of food to go around. Dale community members from years past and present came and sat together with members of the Christ Church community and we were able to mingle, eat, laugh, and chat together.
At one point, I was filling the water glass of a community member who had come late because he was working. He sat next to us and was immediately served a meal. A friend got up to get him a coffee. We made sure he had cutlery. And I poured him a glass of water. Suddenly I found myself full of tears. I did not know just how much I had missed this simple, yet important act of eating with my friends and serving each other. This may seem so small and simple… it’s just water after all. Aren’t we supposed to avoid crying over beverages?? However, I was not just filling a glass. Even a small offering such as this helps build community, and it is something I and we hope that we can get back to really soon at The Dale. It feels like this was just the beginning.
Peace to you this week. I pray that you are filled up by even the simplest acts of giving and receiving.
I am a Community Worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale. In order to do this work, I must fundraise for my entire salary. I invite you to contribute if you are able by visiting thedale.org/donate!