By Louise Fortuna, Communication and Program Coordinator, St. Mary’s, Eugene
Celebrant: Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
People: I will, with God’s help.
(from The Baptismal Covenant, Book of Common Prayer p. 305)
It is such a powerful commitment we make in our baptismal covenant, to respect the dignity of every human being. This promise is one that we try to incorporate into our ministry across the board as a community at St. Mary, Eugene. How is the way we are doing X, Y, or Z ministry respecting the dignity of those with whom we work?
For instance, every second and fourth Saturday of the month, we serve over 300 of our hungry neighbors in a ministry called Saturday Breakfast. But Saturday Breakfast is not just about serving calories. We strive to respect the dignity of every person who comes. They are our guests in every meaning of the word.
We start with coffee hospitality as they gather to wait their turn for breakfast. The breakfast we serve is carefully chosen. We aren’t offering the cheapest, empty calories. Breakfast, which might include things like eggs, omelettes, sausage, bacon, oatmeal, grits, hash browns, and always biscuits and gravy, is known around town as “The Breakfast” and is praised as a delicious meal. We’ve even received Google reviews for it!
We know that quality food is important to everyone’s physical and emotional health, and believe that offering the best to our guests is one way to honor that commitment to respect the dignity of every human being. We provide flowers at the table, just as we do for any meal we serve at St. Mary’s, aiming to make our Saturday Breakfast guests feel as welcome and included as our parishioners do at a fellowship dinner.
Respecting the dignity of every human being is an important value to hold in front of us always, whether we are talking about worship, outreach, education, fellowship, or pastoral care. Of course, it is not always easy, but that is why we ask for God’s help as we do it.