Jesus gave us pictures, metaphors, for what the Kingdom of God is like – it is like a banquet, a feast (Matt 22:2). And when he asked his friends to remember him, his life and work, he said, “eat and drink in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) There is, perhaps, no better way live a life shaped by Jesus than to eat and drink, and throw a party.
When we eat and drink with others, the table levels us. People from diverse backgrounds become equals when we realise that we all share a common humanity, a need for food and drink, and a hunger for human connection.
Each month, we organise an open community event around food and drink in our neighbourhood. In the warmer months we have held Wood Fired Pizza Nights in the community garden. Around 60-80 neighbours from a diversity of cultures, faiths, and experiences come together every month to eat, drink, share stories, and enjoy the human connection we all crave. Through the colder months, we have moved this party indoors for neighbourhood potluck dinners.
People bring food cooked at home and in doing so share parts of their culture, gifts, and story. Our first Neighbourhood Potluck in June saw over 30 neighbours eat together. What is beautiful about these nights is how families from a diversity of cultures and religions, join together to talk and eat. We have hindu, sikh, muslim, and christians joining with one another, and the slower pace and smaller numbers indoors, has provided more opportunities for us to have deeper conversations as we get to know and love our neighbours.
Jono’s primary role is placemaking in the new Woodlea Estate in the suburb of Aintree, in Melbourne’s North West growth corridor. Jono’s experience has been in small rural communities and regional centres which has seen him work with youth and families in public housing estates, primary schools and football clubs in areas of welfare and wellbeing, and in the development of community gardens.