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Winn Collier: The grace of donuts

If there were ever a time to party, we figure Easter’s it. From the beginning, one of our hopes for our church has been that we would be a community that, like Jesus’ first community, gathers around the table for meals and stories. Our sense is that these meals at All Souls’ table are an expression of Jesus’ Table. Some people taste grace before they believe in grace. Jesus came to be a feast for the world, and we believe that our church is to be a feast for our city.

All this leads us to embark upon the apostolic act of party planning. At Easter, it takes the shape of hiring our friend Matt, artisan owner of Carpe Donut (yup, seize the donut), to park his little trailer downtown and crank out his local ingredient, organic donuts, still sizzling from the fryer. N.T. Wright says that Easter’s the time to pop the champagne. We like that; and we liked the idea of champagne and donuts. However, since we wanted to invite our homeless friends, many of whom have alcohol addictions, we opted for hot coffee and apple cider instead. It’s fun to be out on the street on Easter morning. We get to mix it up with the folks who, since Christians are busy at worship, have the city all to themselves.

For a couple hours, we sit at our city center and meet friends and offer donuts. When we’re asked why we’re doing this, we say because Jesus rose from the dead.

This year, I had a conversation with a friend I know from around town. He told me again about his woes with church and hypocrites and the reasons he’s abandoned it all. But before he finished (and between his first and second trip to the donut cart), he asked me to pray for him. Pray for me, pastor, pray that God would be with me. I did – and I believe God will.

Winn Collier is pastor of All Souls Charlottesville. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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