I write to report a miracle in Mindemoya on Friday, January 20 at the Mindemoya United Church.
This miracle occurred during the Community Appreciation Dinner hosted by the Mindemoya Pastoral Charge: The United Church of Canada (Mindemoya UC, Providence Bay UC, and St. Paul’s on the Hill UC in Kangawong). Whether they were people who needed appreciation, deserved appreciation, or wanted to celebrate the appreciation of others in our Manitoulin community, they gathered for a free turkey dinner.
The Mindemoya Miracle was not on the same scale as Jesus’ miraculous fishes and loaves. The Mindemoya Miracle was smaller, yet still significant. I and 70 other people were present at this free dinner when this miracle occurred. In fact, these 71 citizens of Manitoulin helped create this small miracle.
The Mindemoya Miracle started as an idea. That idea became tangible when five turkeys were anonymously donated. That significant gift from outside our church encouraged members of the United Church congregation to proceed with this free dinner for 80 guests.
During the dinner, a small empty basket sat beside the church door. A note beside the basket offered to collect any donations made, whether non-perishable food or money, and forward those donations to the Manitoulin Food Bank.
I admit that eyes were distracted from that basket by the delicious turkey dinner, the music, the many jokes that we shared, and the excellent conversations held by neighbours and new acquaintances. Therefore nobody is quite sure when or how this miracle occurred around this previously empty basket.
By the end of the evening, $383.50 was found in the basket. The table upon which that basket sat was weighed down by many donations of non-perishable food.
Both of these gifts will help support the Food Bank operated by Manitoulin Family Resources (MFR). MFR’s Food Bank distributes 110 food baskets each month, helping feed 313 people (182 adults, 131 children). At Christmas, 832 food hampers were distributed in 2016; a 49 percent increase over 2015.
To repeat and expand the Mindemoya Miracle, the United Church challenges other churches, service groups, and organizations to organize and host the next Community Appreciation Dinner somewhere on Manitoulin. Hopefully we will be able to further strengthen community bonds and foster additional miracles somewhere on our beautiful Island.
Who will answer this challenge by hosting the next Community Appreciation Dinner on Manitoulin Island?
Providence Bay United Church