The participation of St. John’s in the Open Table Ministry is entering a new stage. For the past few months, four members (Melanie Hollman, Ellen Redfield, Sue Smith, and the Rev. Pam) have been meeting and training with four members of Hopevale Church to form a team of eight mentors. We have a variety of skill sets on this team: a veterinarian, a Dow executive, healthcare professionals, members with a social work background, people who work with a variety of diverse groups, educators, and clergy. We have completed our training and have been assigned a brother with whom we will form a relationship during weekly meetings this coming year. To our brother, the benefit of the Open Table Ministry is that the combination of these diverse skills, life experiences, and contacts will help him to realize his own life goals. It is our hope that this community of support will help our brother to work toward positive, life-long, changes.
Training has consisted of three meetings with an Open Table Instructor during which we have heard lectures about the Open Table Model discussed how to best serve our brother, participated in group activities and role playing situations. There was also a training session on complex trauma to help us understand some of the difficult situations that our brother may have encountered. In the course of our training, the eight of us have already bonded and are firmly committed to our goal of helping our new brother in his new life plan.
Our next step is to meet our brother, to share a meal with him and to begin the process of forming relationships.We will share with him our life stories and our reasons for wanting to serve. He will in turn share with us his own story along with his hopes and dreams for a better life. Then the work begins.We will meet with him for a period of one year for an hour each week to build our mutual bonds, determine his goals, stumbling blocks, strengths, and weaknesses. All with the mutual end goal of helping him move from poverty to community, providing social support and a secure unconditional relationship that is based on trust and promotes healing and growth for us all.This Open Table Model is
This Open Table Model is widespread with Tables in place throughout the United States. In Saginaw alone, there are nine Tables in action with members from eight different local congregations. This model has been so successful in helping people who have lived an intense traumatic situation that new Tables are forming continually. We at St. John’s are so glad to be a part of this effort to make a difference in the life of one person and to grow ourselves in the process.What is Open Table?