Super Salad Suppers
by Pastor George Van Alstine

For the past 10 years ABC has participated in a program called “SUMMER SALAD SUPPERS,” in which different congregations in Altadena share in fellowship, exchanging knowledge about each other’s faith, and sharing ideas about how we can all have more of an impact on our community. What makes this a bit of stretch for us is that the groups involved are not unified in a belief in Christ or in the Bible as our guide book, so it’s not like meeting with other Christians across denominational lines.

The original organizers wanted to promote growth in understanding, so we opened participation to any of Altadena’s religious groups who had a desire to meet together.

The result is that those of us who attend these sessions have gotten to know not only folk from the Lutheran, Episcopal and Congregational churches, but also members of the Jewish Temple, the Christian Science Church and the Bahai Faith. This year, for the third time, we’ll also have some Muslim people.

What do such diverse folk have in common? Basically, two things: (1) we are neighbors, and (2) we believe God makes a difference in our lives and our relationships. It’s hard to describe what we have learned over the years, but those of us who have repeatedly attended these Suppers have bonded into some pretty solid friendships.

Each year our four weekly sessions have focused on some theme that relates to all our religious traditions. Past subjects have included worship music, women in leadership, structure vs. freedom in worship services, local and worldwide service opportunities, congregational youth activities, etc.

Our 2011 theme is “Building Community: How Each Congregation Unifies Itself to Make a Difference in People’s Lives.” Each group will try to share strategies that seem to work in “community building.” For instance, Pastor Connie will be talking about how our TLC groups help to provide a spiritual focus and channel for the growth of our members.

We will be meeting on four Thursday evenings, beginning with a 6:30 pm shared potluck supper (vegetarian to respect all dietary traditions).

The “Super Salad Suppers” program is sponsored by ACTS (Altadena Congregations Together Sharing), an informal fellowship in which both ABC pastors have participated for many years.

Come out and join in this unique experience. We believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.