The Brother Lawrence Guild, led by Rosa Uy and Karen Pfeifle keeps us supplied with tasty food and beverages for a lot of events. We'd like to invite others to follow their example of hospitality and join in the vital and satisfying work of reaching out to newcomers and connecting with one another by hosting coffee hour.

Hospitality is central to the Christian life and experience. During the earliest days of the church, one of the behaviors of Christians that drew non-Christians' attention was their "radical" hospitality, making strangers welcome and sharing their food without regard for socioeconomic status in society at that time. Later on, this practice became a key part of monastic life. St. Benedict wrote in his Rule that "everyone is to be welcomed as Christ". So, it's no surprise that the "patron saint" of St. Matthew's Hospitality Ministry is Brother Lawrence, a 17th century French Carmelite lay brother who, having served as a soldier in the 30 years' war, devoted the rest of his life to serving others by working in the monastery kitchen.

There's no mystery to getting involved in St. Matthew's Hospitality Ministry by hosting a coffee hour. As you enter the kitchen from the parish hall, on the counter to your right you'll find "The Gospel According to Brother Lawrence," a notebook with detailed instructions about how to host coffee hour and how to clean up afterward. And you don't have to do a coffee hour alone -- combine forces and share the cost and effort with another household or group. If you haven't served before, pair up with another household or family who has served and they'll show you what to do.

What to serve: About 60-70 parishioners and newcomers come to a typical coffee hour. Unless there's a special occasion, usually coordinated by Brother Lawrence, the Art Ministry, etc., coffee hours aren't supposed to be brunch, so fancy food and big quantities aren't needed! The Brother Lawrence Guild notebook has detailed instructions on what you'll need to buy. And remember to shop weekly grocery specials and buy seasonal fruit so you don't need to spend more than $25.

Sunday morning: In addition to bringing food to the church before the 10:30 am service, someone needs to be sure that the coffee maker is plugged in and turned on. It takes up to 30 minutes to warm up. After the service, come downstairs when the recessional hymn begins to make coffee and set out the treats.

Clean up: After coffee hour is over, hosts need to be sure the coffee maker is turned off, wash the dishes and run them through the sanitizer, tidy up the parish hall and kitchen, and bag the trash.

Coffee Hour Hosts are Needed Every Sunday:  Please e-mail Rose Uy, or sign up on the clipboard on the table in the parish hall.

Thank you for becoming part of St. Matthew's famous hospitality ministry!