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LifeSource Fellowship Builds Mile-Long Table for City Park Picnic »
Tables symbolize human connection believes Barry Jones, associate professor of pastoral ministry for his church in Texas.
Remember King Arthur and his round table? Meeting around the famed table, King Arthur and his knights talked about the safety of Camelot and the kingdom and what adventures and quests they could go on.
Tables can also figure in business organizations. Pat Leoncini, founder of The Table Group, believes the single most important and effective tool in business, even in this era of technological advancement, remains the table.
More than just a piece of furniture, the table is the place “where broken sinners find connection and belonging,” says Jones.
Maybe that’s why Dany Hernandez and Tim Cress, along with a "slew of supporters," are creating a mile-long table for a picnic in Denver's City Park on August 10. They want to use the table “to bring hope to the Denver area”.
Tim Cress sees a common theme popping up in his life these days. He attended the Orange Conference April 26-28 in Atlanta, a Christian ministry that bridges the gap between church and home for preschool, children, students and NextGen, this year's theme being, “For Our Neighbors.” There, he was interviewed about plans for the record-setting table. Add to that his sabbatical theme, “How to Reach Neighbors in More Practical, Down-to-Earth Ways,” and you'll begin to see the trend. Working on plans for the mile-long table was a natural segue.
The table will seat 5,280 people who will come from all sorts of diverse backgrounds and sectors and economic levels and nationalities--joining together for a meal around a common table. It will break down all sorts of walls--socio-economic, racial, gender, denominational, political.
Thirty-three mayors from surrounding Denver neighborhoods have already committed to being there, explains Cress, and other community leaders and members of the community are being invited “with no thought of political party, without branding, without advertising. They’re just coming as people, as members of a community, to a common table.”
At 5,280 feet, the table will be made up of 660 eight-foot sections. Currently in the prototype stage, it will be custom built by teams of contractors. After being used for the gathering, the 660 sections will be given to various neighborhoods around Denver so they can invite people in their communities to eat around the table together.
“A ton of other faith communities are helping us to host this event,” Cress explains. If you want to be involved, there are ways to do that. Hosts are needed for every section of the table whose job will be to furnish and arrange the settings for their table, provide hospitality for that section and be everything for those guests With a lot of interest from the LifeSource community, it looks like there will be competition for hosting. To volunteer as a host, to help with parking or other details, or to find out about other volunteer opportunities, email Tim Cress at email@example.com.
A special day of prayer will be held August 9, the day before the picnic, to pray for the people at the table. Churches around the area will be invited to join in prayer. Cress will provide a sermon for pastors to share with their congregations explaining the meaning behind the mile-long table and encouraging hospitality and hope in many communities. Suggestions will also be provided with ways to organize prayer groups, and small group studies will be available explaining why a table.
In the Old Testament, God’s presence was in the temple. In the New Testament, the people met in house churches where they shared community life and where their basic needs were met. The people at the table became the new temple.
“What if faith communities all around our nation and our world decided to bring people together around common tables and have a party?” Cress queries.
It sounds a little like that extravagant meal we’ll have the day all wrong will be made right and the broken will be made whole.
[Carol Bolden; photo by Danielle Cress]