Everyone has to eat. So it should come as no surprise that food is a central part of bringing people together as family, especially for David
and Hilary Kendall of St John’s in Featherston. At last month’s New Wine festival, David and Hilary’s team provided delicious and nourishing meals for a large swathe of the diocesan campers on site, all centred around the marquees and makeshift kitchen that became the gathering point for many of us for several days.
For many New Wine first timers, it was this place that provided the catalyst for new friendships being formed. “It’s the breaking of bread that builds relationship. It relaxes people,” says Hilary, “and if you have an awkward conversation, you just stuff your mouth full!” Though there seemed to be none of that, with campers continuing on their conversations across the site and even finding ways to help each other when the weather turned nasty.
But feeding campers once a year is not what it’s all about for David and Hilary. “Hospitality really is our ministry,” says Hilary, who describes regular meals at their home to which they invite those in their community for whom a sense of belonging may be a foreign concept. “We’re always bringing those into our house that you have to love. They need a group, they need somewhere to belong, so we give them our best.”
Hilary believes this year was the “best New Wine ever.” Whilst campers were blessed by catering delivered to such excellent standards, Hilary believes that both her and David are blessed to enable so many newcomers from the Diocese have a great time, be able to engage in the festival and feed their kids with little or no stress, and establish new connections. Though despite having such a well-oiled machine, it is hardly surprising that David and Hilary have to work hard to attend the festival meetings whilst feeding their crew. “I always get to the morning worship,” says Hilary, “because it’s the worship that gives me joy, and that’s what gets the love into the food. When I get to morning worship, the food is always good!”
We couldn’t agree more!