What One Little Protein Can Teach the Church About Hospitality

gluten free communion breadThere are several explanations for why so many people seem to require gluten-free diets these days.  Check these out.

But regardless of the reason, we church people have some alterations to make  – from our communion bread recipes to the ingredients in our consecrated casseroles.

  • It used to be true that a church member returned from the hospital to find enough mac and cheese to feed a small army.
  • It used to be true that pot luck dinners featured numerous versions of lasagna along with assorted pasta salads and ham biscuits.
  • It used to be true that communion bread was chewy and delicious.  Or at least those little white bread squares were nice and spongy.

Many churches who never used communion wafers before are now offering gluten free wafers which, by the way, are tasteless.  Other churches are serving gluten free soda bread to all partakers during the Eucharist, but – let’s be honest – it makes a crumbly mess during intinction.

Today the most hospitable pastoral caregivers will ask – before taking dinner to families with new babies – if anyone has food allergies.  The most welcoming congregations will make the Eucharist available to everyone – even those who cannot tolerate gluten.

I recently heard someone grouse about these shifts:  “Who are all these people who can’t eat wheat?  Don’t they know they are making things difficult for everybody?

And therein lies the reason why so many congregations are in survival mode.  We have forgotten that the church is not about us, even  – and especially – when it comes to food.


3 responses to “What One Little Protein Can Teach the Church About Hospitality

  1. Our whole family is off of gluten and dairy. And our church has responded nobly. Recently, another fellow gluten-free-er came to one of our potluck lunches and was stunned to find a whole table of alternative food options. Pretty rare stuff. We’ve also found a gluten-free communion bread recipe that is tasty and non-crumbly. The key is using a gluten free bread machine mix (e.g. Pamela’s).

  2. We have a rice cracker option (with its own chalice) for communion. Finding good gluten free bread is tough. Still recovering from that awful communion bread at GA in Pittsburgh. I appreciated what they tried to do, but it is bad when you just want to spit out the body of our Lord.

  3. Donald Milligan

    Fortunately, gluten sensitivity is measurable by serum antibodies. If you think you’re among the 3% of the population (per NIH) who has it, contact your doctor for a blood assay.

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