West End Collegiate Church on Manhattan’s West Side transformed its soup kitchen into a worship service for the marginalized:
[After the arrival of Rev. Jes Kast in 2011] the dinner and Bible study began to change more dramatically, with input and direction from the participants. Under Kast’s leadership, the Bible study evolved into an innovative worship service, with its own liturgy featuring candle lighting, prayer and a sermon. And the dinner became more like a celebratory banquet than a typical soup kitchen meal, with entertainment provided by some of New York’s finest musicians. A new spirit of belonging grew. What had been a weekly meal and Bible study became its own congregation.
“Often, we view ministries like these as a service to people,” Rev. Michael Bos, West End’s senior minister, said. “We overlook the opportunities for ministry with people — and the opportunity has been huge.”
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