Fresh Bread, an ecumenical community outreach intended to bring people together to share faith over the simplicity of a free meal, will celebrate its inaugural anniversary on Monday, June 27 at 5:30 p.m. at Bistro 163 in Port Clinton.
Fresh Bread is offered in the Christian tradition and motivated by Christ’s commandment to love one another. The gatherings are open to all, including those with little or no faith background. Fresh Bread is not a church, nor does it promote one denominational teaching over another.
Gatherings consist of a simple prayer, a Bible reading, and an opportunity to exchange thoughts about the reading, or other faith related topic, while sharing dinner. The evening also includes gentle live music and faith-based art presented by a local musicians and artists.
The initiative is a grass-roots effort by Rev. Chris Young, Rev. Karen Graham, and Dan Moulton, who serve on Lakeside Chautauqua’s Religious Life Advisory Committee, where the idea was first floated by Rev. Young in May 2018. Coincidentally, Rev. Graham and Moulton had independently been considering similar initiatives. The three were moved to combine forces under the shared belief that a safe place for people to exchange thoughts, experiences, and questions about faith, would benefit the local area, and a shared meal would provide the ideal place for that to happen.
Early in the planning process, they consulted with Manager Babs Klacik of Bistro 163 to see if the Fresh Bread concept might align with the Bistro’s mission. Those discussions led to Bistro 163 becoming the venue and caterer for Fresh Bread gatherings. Initial funding to support the mission was obtained through individual donations and grants from various churches. After a one-year delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the first Fresh Bread gathering took place at Bistro 163 in June of 2021.
“Everyone is welcome at Fresh Bread, whether they belong to a church or not. There is no single targeted audience for Fresh Bread, because spiritual hunger can’t be corralled into any single demographic,” said Rev. Moulton. “But I would say that most of our participants attend for one of three reasons: They’re going it alone and desire a place for occasional fellowship with others; they’re interested in exploring Christian faith as part of their spiritual journey; or they’re well-established with a local church but value the idea of gathering to share in faith with the wider community.
“We encouraged people to join in the conversation, but no one is required to talk. Some people are more comfortable just listening and partaking in the fellowship, and that’s fine too.”
Fresh Bread meets on the fourth Monday of every month at Bistro 163 in Port Clinton at 5:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend, but reservations are requested for meal planning and to ensure sufficient seating. Reservations are requested by Friday before the gathering, if possible. Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 419-798-5119.