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Community Meal partnership begins


This story was published in the Ruston Daily Leader, July 27,2015 and is used with permission.


By Nancy Bergeron

   When the Rev. Cathy Brewton began imagining what is now Ruston’s LifeHouse Ministries, part of her vision was a community meal for all who wanted to come.
   Now, almost four years after the spiritual formation center held its first monthly community meal, the program is expanding.
Beginning Saturday, LifeHouse and Rosemary’s Kitchen restaurant are partnering to offer the new twice-monthly Ruston Community Meal. The meals will be the first and third Saturdays each month at noon at LifeHouse, located at 813 North Trenton St.
   Community meals are free and open to the public. Participants gather, pray together, serve their plates then eat together and visit.
   “This is a way for us to reach to the community, for people to get to know each other and Christ through each other,” Brewton, an ordained United Methodist deacon and LifeHouse founder and executive director, said. “It’s really a meal and a place for everybody.”
   The partnership between LifeHouse and Rosemary’s Kitchen began to take shape earlier this year when restaurant owner Sara Corley noticed the number of people who walk past her business daily.
Rosemary’s Kitchen is located on South Bonner Street, one of the primary pedestrian routes to downtown from southeast Ruston neighborhoods. That got Corley thinking about homelessness and ways she and the restaurant could be involved with the community.
   She called Christian Community Action, the local food pantry, to pitch the idea of targeting meals for homeless residents. That was when Corley learned about the already on-going LifeHouse meal.
   Corley and Brewton met soon afterward and plans for the business-ministry partnership were set.
    “Since we already had a community meal going on, I thought we could expand on what we had,” Brewton said.
   Rosemary’s Kitchen will provide the first Saturday meal; LifeHouse, the third Saturday meal.
   Brewton said she pictures people from throughout the community and from all walks of life coming to eat at tables where professionals or volunteers may prepare the meal, but where Christ is the host.
   Both Brewton and Corley want the Ruston Community Meal to grow. An average of 20 people have been participating in monthly events.
   “I think it would be great if we grew to where we didn’t have room at LifeHouse anymore. That would be a good problem of have,” Brewton said.
   LifeHouse can accommodate about 40 people for a seated event.
   Corley said she would like to see the meals eventually go from twice a month to perhaps as often as twice a week, ultimately with the possibility of a full-fledged local soup kitchen.
   Brewton said she’s also hoping for more volunteers to help with the meals. Though volunteers help serve meals, they’re also part of the table groups.
   “We want to sit down and get to know everybody,” Brewton said. “It’s not just about serving a meal, it about establishing relationships and friendships.”
   Ruston resident Jack Luttrell is a regular at LifeHouse meals. He’s drawn by both the food and the fellowship.
   “I get to meet people that I’m not around all the time and it’s in a Christian atmosphere,” Luttrell said. “It gives me something that’s very positive to do on a Saturday.”