Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Photo by Joel Springer

No One Goes Hungry

Story by Sylvia N. Urrutia

A group of young visitors were near Ohio Conference’s Cleveland First church one Sabbath and decided to visit. After the service, there was no potluck, so they left hungry, without making any real contacts.

After hearing about their experience, member Aracely Balleza determined to make sure that every visitor who walked through the church doors would have a lunch and a friend available for them after divine service. She has now led the ministry for the last seven years, ensuring there is a potluck every week and for every visitor.

Although Balleza is of Mexican descent, she shares that the church is very culturally diverse, so the menu varies each week. On any given Sabbath, the potluck table might contain a Subway- or Chipotle-style lunch, as well as a typical Puerto Rican menu of arroz con grandules (rice with pigeon peas) with vegetarian guiso (stew).

Besides being diverse, the church is now known for being friendly.

“A few months ago, Pastor Alejandro Bullón was speaking at [our] church, and he told the story of how his son had visited a church here in the states, and they were very unfriendly. ... No one said ‘hi’ or invited him for lunch,” says Balleza. “Then he said, ‘but it must not have been this church, right?’” Balleza says a visitor sitting next to her responded loudly, “De nitely not this church. ... Everyone here is so friendly and even has food for you!”

That visitor is now about to get baptized, she shares.

Read these stories from the December 2018 Visitor:

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