Open Table Update
Join Open TableHelp Foster Care Graduates
Do you have an hour on Monday evenings to help mentor a young person graduating from foster care? These children ''graduate'' from foster care without any family or community to provide support and guidance as they transition to adulthood. No special skills needed, just life skills!
The Open Table model allows a group of adults to provide this support. We are currently in need of one or two more people to serve on a table that will be meeting with their ''brother'' or ''sister'' on Monday evenings for a year.
If you are interested in serving or would like more information, please contact Miriam McAtee.
Welcoming a Sister | New 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.
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 individuals facing a variety of difficulties. Working in tandem with government agencies, each table of 10-12 people would commit to assisting and individual or family for one year.
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.
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 are We Willing to Sacrifice?
Did you know that the average person spends 53 minutes a day on Facebook?
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.
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."