“Throw open your front door, welcome people in to the mess of your life and gather around your table,” Shauna Niequist said at the recent St. Andrew’s Women’s Spring Brunch. “If the home is a body, the table is the beating heart; it is the soul, the center. God has used life around the table to shape, heal, and educate me. And during a really difficult season, the place God met me was when we were around the table; people sat with me, let me tell the truth, and listened to me.”
Almost 300 women enjoyed brunch, connecting with one another and hearing Shauna speak about ‘Life Around the Table – How God does some of His best work in us through friendship, vulnerability and storytelling.’
Kelly Dickson, Minister of Life Studies at St. Andrew’s, welcomed the women.
“This was a dream come true to have Shauna, because her greatest passion is her heart for community and what happens around the table,” she said. “We want you women to know you are needed and wanted here, and something holy happens when we gather in the name of Jesus.”
Niequist is a speaker and author of “Cold Tangerines,” “Bittersweet,” and soon to be released “Bread and Wine.” She encouraged the women to invest themselves in honest friendship, and recalled how her experiences sharing recipes and meals with friends evolved into times of sharing hearts, souls and lives.
“What started as a cooking club, turned into one of the greatest transforming parts of my life,” Niequist said. “We talk and share everything, from faith to fear, life and death, and we pray and walk through all of life together. Be people who slow down, feed and honor each other, and gather around the table. It isn’t about perfection or performance. Don’t miss the beauty of being known, seen, accepted, and loved.”
“Are you willing to walk through life with a group of people?” Niequist asked. “What would it look like if you started today? Make a once a month priority and get it on the calendar. We schedule everything else, but we don’t schedule these priority relationships. This is what keeps me alive and growing, this sense of being known, healed and connected. The table is where we return to stitch our hearts together.”
Niequist spoke about the value of the different age groups sharing life together.
“I really need the voices of women who have gone before me,” she said. “The church is supposed to be multigenerational. Reach outside of your own generation, invite us in; we really want to learn from you. My prayer is that you would be people who are deeply knit together. God does extraordinary work in community. Tell stories of God’s goodness, heart-by-heart, table by table.”
Balboa Island resident Alissa Salava said she really enjoyed the morning.
”I am so glad I came,” Salava said. “I really appreciate the multigenerational aspect of St. Andrew’s. I don’t have a sense of family, and the church has helped fill the empty spaces; it’s a huge blessing. There is such wisdom to be shared, especially from people who have walked with the Lord a long time; it’s wonderful to be around people like that.”
“The brunch was an opportunity for all ages of women to connect, and hear from a known author,” explained Jon Batarse, St. Andrew’s Minister of Communications. ”It reflected the great mix of ages represented in our church, something that is very valuable in life and in our spiritual walks. The morning gave people a feel of what St. Andrew’s looks like.”
St. Andrew’s invites the community to Easter services: Saturday March 30 at 5:30 p.m., and Sunday March 31 at 8, 9:30, and 11:11 a.m. Further information is available at sapres.org
Cindy speaks to women’s groups and can be reached at [email protected].