East Burlington Seniors’ Lunch a Truly Ecumenical Effort

While many churches in the Halton region have collaborated to host lunches for seniors, the East Burlington Seniors’ Lunch has become by far the most ecumenical. “That’s why I decided to volunteer,” Kathy Pringle, the current chairperson, said. “The ecumenical nature of the group really appealed to me.”

Three years ago, Rev. Jean Archbell, then the rector of St. Elizabeth’s Anglican Church in Burlington, decided to replicate the Out-4-Lunch program operating out of St. Matthew On-The-Plains Anglican in Aldershot. While the Aldershot seniors’ lunch planning team featured a combined team of United, Catholic and Anglican volunteers, the East Burlington added Baptists and the Lutherans.

When she was planning the event, Archbell contacted the minister of virtually every Christian Church in south east Burlington—from Walkers Line in the west to Burloak and from Lake Ontario up to Upper Middle Road. The response was amazing.

“From its inception we had volunteers from five churches from five different denominations on our steering committee,” Pringle said, “St. Elizabeth’s Anglican, Pineland Baptist, Appleby United, Holy Cross Lutheran and St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic. My church, Holy Cross, hosted the lunch until a big flood a few years ago damaged the basement.”

Since the flood, Appleby United has hosted the monthly event. Appleby’s minister, Rev. Allan Warren, often participates. “Appleby has a lovely, big kitchen and a great serving area,” Pringle said.

Most of the attendees is over 65, and for the past year, the average number of meals served has been 80. There’s no charge for the lunch, although a freewill offering is taken. “We’ve always met our expenses,” Pringle said. Each of the five sponsoring churches contributed initial seed money for the project and the Anglican Diocese of Niagara contributed a grant. “A couple of our volunteers do the shopping and they scout around for the best prices. We try to meet the seniors’ nutritional needs.”

Pringle said that the steering committee also believes it’s important to build community among seniors. A master of ceremonies hosts the event. There is always either a trivia contest with prizes or some free entertainment. “We also set up a display informing people what churches are involved—so if the lunch attendees want to go to any of them they know where they are.”

The committee meets once a month to organize the advertising, the program, the work schedule and the menu. “We rotate the volunteers so not everybody has to work every month,” she said. “We’ve got a group of good, steady volunteers. A few are not from the sponsoring churches.”

“We’ve been talking about expanding and including more churches from East Burlington. We would welcome any churches that want to be involved,” she said. “The more volunteers we have, the easier it is to run.”

The East Burlington Seniors’ Lunch takes place at noon on the third Tuesday of each month (except July, August and December) at Appleby United Church at 4407 Spruce Avenue in Burlington. Everyone is welcome.

Anyone wishing to donate or volunteer, or if another church would like to join the effort, they’re welcome to contact Patti Eix at 905-844-1109 or pleix@outlook.com