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Public Theologian and Author
What happens when we eat together as an act of worship?
Author, baker, and public theologian, Kendall Vanderslice, visited and researched dinner churches across North America over a five-year period, during which she repeatedly witnessed something powerful happen at the table as it became a site of communal worship.
Is this a new phenomenon? No. The gospel story is filled with meals, beginning in a garden, and ending in a feast. Early church records, in fact, suggest that believers met for worship primarily through eating meals.
“Eating together is an intimate act,” writes Kendall in her book, We Will Feast, which chronicles stories and strategies of table-centered worship gatherings. Kendall’s book also helps us envision “what is possible when Christians eat together,” offers Nancy T. Ammerman of Boston University School of Theology (one of the book’s many endorsers).
Perhaps there is friendship to be gained, loneliness to be dissolved, social structures to be subverted, wounds to be healed, and the body of Christ to be re-membered through the breaking of bread.
As ministry leaders within Dane County—whether you are a full-time or bi-vocational pastor, part-time church staff member, lay leader, or campus ministry volunteer—Upper House and Collaboration Project invite you to take part in this community dinner service. Through song, prayer, scripture, a message of encouragement, table discussion, and of course, food, Kendall Vanderslice will facilitate a powerful evening of meal-centered worship.
Our hope is that you would “catch a glimpse of the joy, abundance, and the holy imagination of what it means to feast together,” and leave “more hopeful for a Church where all are fed” (quoting affirmations of Kendall’s work from D.L. Mayfield and Rev. Laura Everett).
Note: This event is in-person only and intended for those serving in part-time or full-time ministry roles, including bi-vocational church leaders. Spouses are welcome to attend.
Our Community Dinner Facilitator
Kendall Vanderslice is a graduate of Duke Divinity School (Master of Theological Studies), Boston University (MLA Gastronomy), and Wheaton College (BA Anthropology). She has committed her life to the study of food and community formation, successfully interweaving her theological scholarship and training as a professional baker who worked with several top pastry chefs in North America. In 2018, she was named a James Beard Foundation national scholar for her work bridging food and religion.
Kendall’s book, We Will Feast: Rethinking Dinner, Worship, and the Community of God, was born out of five years spent researching churches that worship together around the table. She speaks regularly at churches, colleges, and universities around North America. Her writing appears in Christianity Today, Christian Century, Faith & Leadership, and Religion News Service. Learn more about Kendall at www.Kendallvanderslice.com and www.edibletheology.com.