By Paul Mundey
Last month, I received an invitation to officiate at a love feast at Princeton Theological Seminary, where I am a visiting scholar. Surprised to learn there would be a love feast at Princeton, I jumped at the chance to help, but discovered the date conflicted with my responsibilities as a trustee at Bridgewater (Va.) College.
Eager to still participate, I offered to supply the communion bread, made from the vintage Brethren recipe. I also was eager to learn of the origins of the love feast at Princeton, and discovered that Christina Manero was the visionary for the event.
As Christina tells her story, although she now identifies as Mennonite, “it was at a Church of the Brethren congregation that I was first exposed to love feast. I had always wondered why Christians don’t observe feetwashing more often, and here were Christians who made it their practice! Love feast was one of my favorite experiences in that church and when I arrived at seminary I realized few people knew about it or Anabaptism in general. So when I organized the love feast, I tried to bring what I love about the tradition I am now a part of to my new community.”
She says, “Feetwashing was what I most wanted to introduce to people, simply because I think the practice of it and the memory of Jesus doing the same is so powerful.”
Reflecting on the Princeton Love Feast held April 5, Christina notes, “People seemed to really enjoy the whole experience. We had a time of reflection/confession, feetwashing, a fellowship meal, and communion. Each section was accompanied by hymns and scripture readings. We had a nice mix of Anabaptists and non-Anabaptists, so there was good discussion over the fellowship meal regarding what Anabaptists believe, why they do love feast, and so forth. Overall, I was blessed by the service and believe those in attendance were as well."
By the way, she added, “The bread...was great!”
The Princeton Love Feast is yet another reminder of the relevance of our heritage, and the desire, of a growing number to discover another way of being the church.
-- Paul Mundey is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. Recently he retired from the full-time pastoral ministry, having served for 20 years as senior pastor of Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren. He is currently a visiting scholar at Princeton Theological Seminary. Find his blog at www.paulmundey.blogspot.com .