Grace Lenten Luncheons canceled this year


50-year community tradition sidelined by COVID-19 pandemic

By Karen Bernard - Women of Grace Methodist Church



A 50-year Grace Methodist Church tradition in Washington C.H. has been sidelined by the pandemic. It is sad, but after much prayer and thought, the Women of Grace Church have come to the decision that there will be no Community Lenten Luncheons served at Grace United Methodist Church in 2021.

It was in 1970 that the women of the church held the first series of six luncheons on six Thursdays of Lent. Open to the whole community, a delicious hot lunch was followed by a brief Lenten message by a different local pastor each week. Lunch and message together ended by 1 p.m. so diners could return to their workplace after a refreshing lunch break.

The camaraderie of members from different denominations and different churches has always been a special part of Lenten Luncheons. To our knowledge, the entire series has, in 50 years, not ever been completely cancelled until now.

Rev. John Armentrout, new in 1970 to Grace Methodist Church, suggested it as a way to bring different churches together for a shared moment of worship and meditation in the middle of a busy week. No one at the time expected such a good turnout, but it has become a highlight of the Lenten season in Fayette County.

It would be difficult for us to recruit enough cooks, servers and clean-up workers this year. Some of us have had and survived COVID-19, while many of us are awaiting our vaccinations. Cooking together is taking a risk, and dining in a large group is even more risky. We just can’t put our church members and friends in such an unsafe situation!

A second and third generation of pastors, cooks, men and women servers, dishwashers and clean-up crew have kept the tradition alive for 50 years. New recipes and new dishes have been introduced, but some of the menu favorites, like creamed chicken on biscuit and yummy desserts, are still served.

We all look forward to the return of Grace Lenten Luncheons in March of 2022!

50-year community tradition sidelined by COVID-19 pandemic

By Karen Bernard

Women of Grace Methodist Church