Open Table

Reveille UMC

Give of Your Time and Change a Life

Open Table Comes to Reveille

Open Table 

If you are interested in supporting this ministry please contact Ellie Speer or Miriam McAtee

Every year, 20,000 children in the United States "graduate" from foster care and set out on their own. These young people are full of potential, but often lack the skills or community support needed to be self sufficient. As a result, 40% will experience homelessness and 50% will turn to substance abuse. Sixty percent of the young men will be convicted of a crime and 70% of the young women will experience a pregnancy before the age of 21.

Through a partnership with United Methodist Family Services and Open Table, Reveille hopes to make a difference in the lives of at least two of these young adults. We plan to form two tables, each consisting of eight-10 team members who commit to providing a community to a young foster care graduate who is on their own. No special skills are required, just a commitment to meet with your team one hour a week to help provide guidance to a young adult in need.

Contact Miriam McAtee or Ellie Speer for more information about Open Table.

Learn more about Open Table

From Poverty to Community
Open Table trains congregation members to form communities – called tables. These groups of 10-12 individuals can transform their own vocational and life experiences into tools that our brothers and sisters in poverty can use to develop and implement plans that create lasting change. 
UMFS  will launch the pilot project for this new ministry this fall. They are searching for congregations to assist young people aging out of the foster care system, as well as helping families who are going through difficult times. 

A New Concept
Open Table is a new concept in ministry where the intellectual capital, work experience, and networking skills found within a congregation are employed to help an individual or family coming out of poverty. UMFS has been selected for a pilot project in the Richmond area and is looking for faith communities to form tables for youth aging out of their foster care system, or for families experiencing difficulties. Working in tandem with government agencies, each table of 10-12 people would commit to assisting and individual or family for one year.

Beginnings
Jon Katov, the founder of Open Table, drove by people in poverty in his native Arizona, every day for more than 12 years. He preferred to operate what he called an “upholstery” ministry from the safety of his church. He sent stuff – not himself.  It wasn’t until the youth from his church wanted to  distribute energy bars at a homeless shelter that he came face to face with the reality of poverty and the barriers we have set up to protect ourselves from this reality. Not only do we have geographical barriers, but even at the feeding program there was a ‘wall’ between the givers and the receivers. We rarely "come around to the other side of the table."  Jon realized that an energy bar or a used pair of blue jeans was not enough to overcome poverty.
Open Table breaks down the "wall" and enables us to walk with a person who needs help to get their life started.

The Giant Vault
Jon Katov, the founder of Open Table, realized that every church has untapped resources that could be used to help a person in poverty restart his life.  This giant "vault" contains hundreds of years of education and hundreds of years of work experience, intellectual and social capital, family and networking capabilities.  It came to him that, “this is how WE build our lives."  
 What would happen if you lost your job?   Naturally, you would call upon all these assets and support systems to get you through.
What would happen if you had none of these?  Many people in poverty are in this situation. At Reveille we are blessed with a "vault" full of  "riches" that could be utilized to assist someone  experiencing obstacles to restarting  his/her life.  Open Table provides an opportunity to do that, by the formation of a table of 10-12 people who are willing to commit one-three hours a week to walk alongside a person in poverty.

What are We Willing to Sacrifice?
Did you know that the average person spends 53 minutes a day on Facebook?
Members of an Open Table meet for one-three hours weekly for one year. 

Open Table is an innovative solution to assist an individual or family out of poverty. 

This new ministry concept was started in Arizona by Jon Katov, a United Methodist, who befriended a homeless man at a shelter and witnessed the challenges and obstacles experienced by someone trying to get out of poverty. He concluded that the solution to poverty must be a wraparound partnership between local government services and faith communities. The initiative lives within the faith community–this is where Christian love and support are given–but it must be connected to local systems of care. 

After training, a "table" of 10-12 persons is formed and, using their own skills and tapping into others within the congregation, they are able to be in relationship, assist, and walk alongside a person as they start, or restart, his or her life. The table, with the brother or sister, meet weekly for one year.

UMFS is one of six pilot projects in the country and hopes to create several tables within the Richmond faith community this fall. The initial goal is to help and support young people aging out of the foster care system.

Open Table gives congregations an opportunity for discipleship that creates sustainable change "one sheep at a time."

At Reveille, the Outreach committee is presenting Open Table as another opportunity to put faith into action. We hope you will feel called to be part of a new transforming ministry.