Fellowship was the main ingredient for the Fat Tuesday meal on February 17 for members and friends of Harbor (Christian Reformed) Church of Seattle, Wash. Approximately 40 people from the church and surrounding neighborhood, ranging in age from 5 months to 70 years, feasted on New Orleans cuisine such as jambalaya, gumbo, and red beans and rice while listening to jazz music. The children draped Mardi Gras beads around one another.
In some religious traditions, Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday, marks the end of the season of Epiphany. It is a day of feasting before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
Jana Koh, member of Harbor Church and event organizer, said, “The idea was simply an excuse to get people together and eat some good food. It’s also a great ‘non-churchy’ moment in our life together that we can easily invite friends and family.”
The members of Harbor Church intended for the event to be open everyone—churched or unchurched. “[We] wanted to create space for everyone to simply be together and build relationships,” said Koh. A number of groups that use the church building during the week such as a preschool and Alcoholics Anonymous were invited, and some gladly attended. “The highlight for me was seeing the variety of people from in and around our church come together for the evening. There were some of our church elders, lay leaders, some folks who are new to our church, people who attend AA, people who would never step foot in a church otherwise . . . and we all came together to share a meal,” she said.
This is the third year the church has hosted a Fat Tuesday meal as a kick-off to a Lenten season that includes special worship, evening meditative services, and a worship driven art show.