Community of Christ has established a relationship with Open Table to allow congregations to implement the Open Table model of forming relationships with people in poverty who are seeking to be restored to community. To learn more about Open Table visit www.TheOpenTable.org.
The Open Table Mission & Movement
Mission: Train congregations and their members, through the Open Table Model, to partner their vocational and life experiences with people in poverty to develop and implement plans that create sustainability and wholeness.
The Movement: A movement of servants restoring people in poverty to our communities through relationship. Through its innovative collaborations of faith communities, government, business and non-profits working through Open Table, a shared purpose model, Open Table is able to unite resources that enable the cycle of poverty to be broken.
Open Table Model
Each table is hosted by one or more congregations and composed of a group of 8-12 volunteers that make a year commitment to act as a team of life specialists, encouragers, and advocates for impoverished brothers or sisters. Open Table provides initial training and on going support for each table.
Together, with the brother or sister being served, the table develops and implements a customized Life Plan to empower the individual to live into their human potential God gave to them. Together they work on goals in the in the areas of education and occupation, financial planning, housing, transportation, healthcare, family support, spirituality and more. Table members network in their congregations and the community for resources to support the plan.
The Table becomes like family to one another with the common goal of supporting the brother or sister. The relationship continues, even once the table ends.
Community of Christ
Open Table is made up of a diversity of denominations, each adding to the blessing of the model. Community of Christ is a perfect partner because we value our connections and share a strong sense of trust in and belonging with one another—even if we have never met.
This is a wonderful way to express our call to the Mission Initiative to Abolish Poverty and End Suffering. “We are poised to be Christ’s hand and feet, reaching out through compassionate ministries that serve the poor and hungry and stop conditions that diminish the worth of persons.” It engages our congregations in mission and honors our enduring principals of Worth of All Persons & Blessings of Community.
A community of support is what those in poverty lack more than anything else, and something that we can continue to practice together.
Brothers & Sisters
The individuals and families served by the table are called “brothers and sisters.” Tables serve the great diversity of impoverished individuals — homeless, working poor, young adults aging out of foster care, people with felony backgrounds/probation, veterans, and more.
Candidates for tables pass through a psychological assessment and a backgrounding process. They must be ready to do the work to create change in their lives. By committing to this process, they will benefit from volunteers’ knowledge, experience and networks for help in many areas of their lives and gain a support system they often come to think of as an extended family.
So often we wish we knew how to really help those in poverty. Open Table provides a model for you to use your own vocation and life experiences to benefit your brother or sister. You don’t need to be an expert, just willing to share what you have learned.
You will spend 1-2 hours each week for approximately one year in relationship with your table. You will form bonds of friendship with other table members and will likely be transformed personally throughout the process.
Together you will model fact-based decision making through a consensus-based process. You will listen, reflect and support.
You are invited to put your heart and soul into mission: the divine mission of evangelism, compassionate ministries, and justice and peacemaking for which Jesus Christ lived and gave his life!
How to Get Started…
Spread the word. Talk with your pastor or mission center president and let them know you are excited about this ministry opportunity. Find others in your area that would like to form a table.
Consider organizations that could help refer potential candidates as brothers and sisters. Learn about the community resources available in your area.
Contact Carrie Welch, Open Table Director for Community of Christ Compassionate Ministries. She works directly with Open Table and will be happy to discuss the launch process in your area.
Once you identify leaders in your area, your new table will be assigned a launch coach to help your table get started. When ready, you will receive training, resources and support to start this journey.
Open Table Website – http://theopentable.org
Community of Christ Open Table Ministry Page – www.cofchrist.org/open-table
Facebook Page: At The Open Table with Community of Christ