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.