Step right up and enjoy a three-course meal. On Sunday, August 12, approximately forty members of Sonlight Community Christian Reformed Church in Lynden, Wash., welcomed the carnival workers of the Northwest Washington Fair with a hot meal.
Jill Roderick serves dinner to a carnival worker.
Volunteers served a ham dinner complete with rice, dinner rolls, salad, ice cream, and homemade pies to approximately 200 carnival workers. The food was prepared in the church kitchen and brought directly to the fairgrounds when the carnival workers arrived. Most of the food was donated by individuals, a bakery, and a local dairy.
Both church volunteers and carnival employees wore name tags, giving them a chance to interact and address one another by name. Roger Burke, a member of Sonlight Community CRC and organizer of the event said, “I love to go out there and sit down with the crew and talk with them . . . and I enjoy eating with them.”
Sarah, a carnival worker, says, “Lots of fairs lock their gates at night. Here in Lynden, we feel loved and embraced.”
This event has encouraged church members to pursue a missional approach and incarnate themselves into a different culture. “We see firsthand that these people belong to families. They have hungers. They have needs. Some are sick. Some look rough. Life has been tough on them. They are people with stories,” said Burke.
When the fair workers left the following Sunday, church members prepared a pancake breakfast with eggs and bacon cooked on grills at the fairgrounds. Robin, a carnival worker said, “It is really good to be appreciated—not so much appreciated but just liked.”
This is the eleventh year Sonlight CRC has sponsored this event. Pastor Pete Byma says, “The carnival workers look forward to coming to Lynden because they know they will be fed a full and well-balanced meal (for many, it’s a long time since they have had such a meal), and have encouraging conversation. It is truly a time of being ‘Jesus with skin on’.”