This week we learned that Trinity Episcopal Church was awarded a grant by the United Thank Offering to be used to purchase kitchen equipment to support our parish’s weekly Ark Soup Kitchen and other ministries that we house. The equipment will be installed in the new kitchen area that was built as part our 190th anniversary year capital campaign, “Fed by our Past, Nourishing our Future”.Trinity Episcopal Church in Easton was awarded a grant by the United Thank Offering of the Episcopal Church for kitchen equipment to support the parish’s weekly Ark Soup Kitchen and other ministries housed there.
The $25,000 award was announced in a letter to the Rt. Rev. Paul V. Marshall, Bishop of Bethlehem, on May 19, 2010 is to be used between June 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011.
"I am happy to see Trinity's ministry recognized at the national level.” Bishop Paul said. “The grant is both a material support to the parish, and also an enormous encouragement to all who labor to make our churches effective witnesses of God's love."
The United Thank Offering is known to many Episcopalians through the famous “blue-boxes” into which people put in loose change as offering for anything about which we are thankful. Trinity, Easton has supported the work of the United Thank Offering since its inception and the UTO is now one of Trinity’s “Mission of the Month” offerings.
The mission of the UTO is “To expand the circle of thankful people and To achieve this mission, we encourage daily prayers, offerings, and awareness of the abundance of God’s blessings.” They give grants to projects that “significantly impact the lives of women and children because of Christ’s love” and on “projects that implement significant change toward alleviating profound human suffering that the Millennium Development Goals address.”
The Ark Soup Kitchen at Trinity Church has been in existence since 1995, when a group called the Servant Circle began a Saturday lunch program for the poor, homeless and those in special need in Easton. The first lunch served some 30 guests, and over the years, the Ark Soup Kitchen has grown to average 60-80 meals each week.
The weekly meal serves a cross-section of people who live in and around the downtown area where Trinity is located. There are “single room occupancy hotel” residents, those with chronic addiction and/or mental health issues, and a considerable number of the working poor and their family members who just do not have enough money to get by each month.
Held in the parish hall of Trinity, Easton, the Ark Soup Kitchen has become a community. It is a social outlet as much as a place to eat and many of the guests look out for each other there. The newly enlarged space and kitchen facility will provide more room both for preparing food, and for relieving the very cramped seating by adding 18-24 additional seats to the hall. It will also allow Trinity to offer improved space to the 12-Step groups that rely on the space on a regular basis – and will allow the parish to offer ministry in new and creative ways.
The kitchen equipment that the grant will make possible include a new exhaust hood and fire suppression system (already ordered or installed because of construction requirements), a new stove and double oven, a convection oven and warmer, a commercial dishwasher, freezer and refrigerator, and a double sink for pot-washing. The commercial grade kitchen will both be easier to clean and allow community and church groups that volunteer to staff the Ark Soup Kitchen to cook meals on the premises instead of simply warming food prepared elsewhere.
The kitchen area is expected to open in June or early July. A grand opening celebration/dedication is planned for early September.