Louisiana Memorial United Methodist Church of Opelousas made the decision in 2015 to start the Wesley’s Table ministry, a feeding program focusing on neighbors within walking distance of the church.
Five teams committed to purchase, cook, serve and clean up after a free Sunday breakfast offered weekly. By the end of the year, those enjoying breakfast and fellowship every Sunday during Wesley’s Table had grown from 40 to 200. In addition, a 30-minute casual worship service has been added before the breakfast to “feed their souls.”
Asbury UMC of Lafayette spent this Advent considering how to “give to Jesus and not just self.” The decision was made to dedicate the Christmas Eve offering to Wesley’sTable.
Rev. Humphries, senior pastor of Asbury, suggested the church aim for $20,000, quadruple the usual Christmas Eve offering. Inspired by the generosity of Louisiana Memorial, Asbury’s members emptied their pockets and raised $43,282.30 for the Wesley’s Table ministry!
On Jan. 15, Revs. Richard Humphries and Susan Ferguson, along with Asbury’s Mission Chair Daphne Yaun, traveled to Opelousas to present the check to Rev. Jean Sanders and members of the five breakfast teams of Louisiana Memorial UMC.
According to Wesley’s Table coordinators, the money given by Asbury UMC will enable the teams to provide breakfast for nearly two years, giving them relief from the weekly financial responsiblity. “Asbury also feels so blessed and encouraged, receiving far more than we gave,” said Rev. Humphries.
Bill Cober, Tony Vidrine, Lois McDaniel, Kevin Wilkerson, Steve Billings and Earl Taylor lead the teams that work hard to make Wesley’s Table a reality. “Blessed with an excellent facility for cooking and serving, each week’s cooking team is also responsible for doing the grocery shopping the week before and cleaning the building at the conclusion of each Sunday’s breakfast. A typical menu includes scrambled eggs, sausage, fluffy biscuits and homemade cheese grits. Or a team might whip up bacon and homemade pancakes, or a delicious breakfast casserole and fruit salad,” said Cober.
Wesley’s Table has developed a following of devoted regulars. There’s a spirit of fellowship and hopefulness in the air every Sunday morning. Although church leaders began the program with only service to their neighbors in mind, weekly church attendance has grown and donations are up as well.
The Opelousas community has taken note of this vital ministry. Following the publication of an article on the program in the local paper, Cober opened a letter to find a money order for $250 and a nice note from an anonymous donor, urging the church to keep up the good work. Many donations have flowed into the program, and no monies from the church’s general fund have been needed.
The Wesley’s Table regulars look forward to their breakfast with their church neighbors. Recently, a man in the service line looked over the offerings and said to one of the servers, “Is that those cheese grits?” When the server confirmed his guess, he added, “Give me a bunch of those. Word on the street is they’re good!”