St. Johns Parish Church Johns Island SC

Feeding the Multitude

In collaboration with 29 Island churches, we prepare nearly two thousand meals to be enjoyed by guests on site or delivered to Fire Department and EMS staff, to nursing home staff, and to the home-bound. It is a wonderful party with entertainment and fellowship with our neighbors, and all are welcome!

Reflections on feeding the Multitude at St. John’s
by Christine Sandy 11-03-2019

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters in Christ!  My name is Christine Sandy and I am a member of the Rockville Presbyterian Church Family.  I am here today to speak to you about the Feeding of the Multitude, an annual event that occurs on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and will take place here this year on Saturday, November 23rd.
I would first like to sincerely thank you The St. Johns Parish Church Family for initially embracing the idea of the Feeding of the Multitude 11 years ago, as well as for your faithful service and continuing prayers for this annual event!  The Feeding of the Multitude for Johns and Wadmalaw islands not only originated at St. Johns, but for 11 of the 12 years it has taken place, you have provided the meeting space for the planning and your beautiful church campus for the event.  Additionally, the dedication to the event by your Pastor Greg and the many volunteers from your Church Family, has been the expression of God’s work here on earth that has led to the success of the Feeding.  All of us who participate from nearly 30 churches in the area look forward each year to celebrating this event with you on your church campus and for so many reasons we are ever grateful to you!
Then how did the Feeding of the Multitude come to be at St. Johns, serving the communities of Johns and Wadmalaw islands? Some of you may know that twelve years ago, members of your Church Family volunteered at the Feeding of the Multitude in East Charleston.  At that event, the volunteers were challenged to start a Feeding of the Multitude in their communities.  Claudia Boyce took the lead and prayerfully introduced the idea of creating a Feeding of the Multitude on Johns and Wadmalaw islands and your Church Family embraced the idea.  Moving forward, she reached out to churches in the area to see if there was interest in participating.  At that point, as I had recently moved to the area and I was a member of Johns Island Presbyterian Church, I was asked to serve on the first committee to establish this wonderful event.  The Feeding of the Multitude has been a great blessing in my life.
Inspired by the spirit, Claudia gathered representatives from several churches, large and small, predominately black, predominately white, and those serving the Hispanic community.  This then led, in the years that followed, to volunteers serving on behalf of many denominations:  Episcopal, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Evangelical, Catholic, African Methodist Episcopal, Independent Christian, Presbyterian, and even a Messianic Jewish congregation. It seems to me that there must have been many, many Christian souls on Johns and Wadmalaw islands who yearned to connect with each other. The Feeding of the Multitude provided for this connection.  For the very first time, a multitude of brothers and sisters in Christ joined together on these beautiful islands to glorify God by serving each other.  Initially we viewed the event as serving those in need - those who would have no one to celebrate Thanksgiving with, or who might not be able to afford the traditional Thanksgiving meal with a turkey and all the trimmings.  What we soon discovered was that as the volunteers for the event were seated at tables with our guests, the joyful interaction of sharing a holiday meal together removed any perceived differences – the Feeding of the Multitude had become an islands-wide party!
Thanks to the Feeding of the Multitude, our neighbors, whose daily walks take them on different paths, now have the opportunity to serve together and share a meal together------and that connection impacts God’s kingdom here where we live.  Friendships have developed while serving together at the Feeding of the Multitude, and these friendships have also provided comfort at times of sorrow, as well as a beautiful Thanksgiving meal.  This was especially true, in June 2015, when we learned about the tragedy at Mother Emmanuel Church.  On that fateful day, members of the Feeding of the Multitude planning committee immediately began to communicate with each other.  We then gathered together at a memorial service at the historically Afro-American Bethlehem Methodist Church on Bohicket Road, in remembrance of the nine members of the Mother Emmanuel Church Family who had lost their lives that fateful night.  It was a very powerful time to worship God together. Many of us including our Hispanic and African American brothers and sisters also gathered on the following Saturday in John’s Island Park, where we ate, prayed, comforted each other and felt the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  The Mother Emmanuel Church Family led the way with their acts of forgiveness, and we, of the Feeding of the Multitude, serve in support to Mother Emmanuel, by building bridges and developing loving friendships.
The Feeding of the Multitude continues to show God’s love for our community.   We hope you will consider joining us at the Feeding of the Multitude here on Saturday the 23rd!  
Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

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