In your home and in mine, at your table and at mine
~ Loyce Ong’udi
A couple of months ago, a woman I love and respect and continue to do so, looked me straight in my eyes, and with sadness in her voice, expressed how much she admires a black woman who is a member of her church, and would love to invite said woman to her house for a meal, but she did not know how to approach her.
For those who are new to our church and cannot place me, I am originally from Kenya, and, most Sundays I wear rather colorful clothing. On September 27, 2019, I’ll have been a member of University Congregational United Church of Christ for 19 years. Out of those many years, I have been at many tables in your homes, not as a black woman, but as a friend, and have treasured those deeper connections. I too would wish to expand that circle and to make it bigger still.
Moving forward this year, I would like to welcome more of you to my Seattle table; but even better, my prayer is that in the near future, more of you, my UCUCC family would consider to come to visit me in Rabuor, Kenya, my childhood village.You can plan to come with your family, a friend or even by yourself. Or we can plan for a work group or a fun group to travel together to Rabuor, and possibly go on a “safari”. When you do, you will be in and out of many homes and tables, especially my parents’! My hope is that as that happens, those deeper bonds and experiences will be life-changing and live a lifetime in the hearts of the Rabuor community and in yours. I know this to be true because there are members of my UCUCC church family who have been to Rabuor.
As we pray and plan for this dream of mine to come true—and I trust it will, I invite you to also process with me what you think might have kept this gentle white woman from approaching a black woman who is a regular in her church for a place at her table. I ask you; do you too struggle with how to talk to or invite people who are black or other races to your family table if not for Mix-ups? It is generally unusual to invite people we don’t already know for a visit or meal in our home – and that goes for me too. This story is more than a meal at a table, it is about deeper connections—it is worth the risk!