Epiphany at Table Raleigh
I have eaten at Table Raleigh (formerly known as A Place at the Table) three times this week! I love it, and I know you will too. I have had the avocado toast, yogurt bowl and sun dried tomato quiche with goat cheese. My eleven year old daughter raves about the waffles, served with whipped cream, butter and syrup – a trinity of abundance! You can also get a biscuit with sausage gravy for breakfast or a pulled pork panini for lunch. Table Raleigh started with an epiphany. Then Presbyterian Campus Ministry student, Maggie Kane (now Executive Director of A Place at the Table), had a vision of a restaurant where all God’s people could eat and enjoy good, fresh food together – regardless of their ability to pay. Maggie’s vision extended beyond providing food to the millions of food insecure Americans. Her vision was to create, nurture and sustain community around something that is necessary for us all – food. It has taken years for Maggie’s epiphany to grow into a full service pay-as-you-can café located at 300 W. Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh. But last week it finally did – Table Raleigh opened from 7am-2pm, Monday – Saturday.
Monday morning a group from West Raleigh met for breakfast at Table Raleigh before we marched in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial March with a group of folks from Davie Street Presbyterian Church. By the end of the march, temperatures were just creeping into the 30’s and Ruth asked if we could get lunch before going home. Another cup of coffee sounded good so we headed back to Hargett Street. The restaurant was packed. Ruth and I squeezed into the last available table on a long wall of café tables, being careful not to spill our neighbors’ coffee or drag our coats across their lunch! We ate and were just finishing when a volunteer who I will call William, came to clear our table. He was a bit disheveled and had several teeth missing, but was sporting a big, warm grin. He looked at us all, sitting so close together, shook his head and said, “You all are packed in there close like prison!” He said it like someone who knew what he was talking about. I paused and returned the smile, not knowing quite what to say. He continued, “No really. I am not kidding,” to which I said, “Well, the food here must be better, and we are here because we want to be.” A few minutes later, Ruth and I finished clearing our table, and William caught our eye again. “Hey, thanks for helping,” he said. “Nice to meet you,” I said, and we were gone.
Thank you, God, for Maggie’s epiphany – that moment of clarity where she knew her vision was a gift from you. And thank you, God, for giving her the discipline and the stamina and the courage to persist when one door after another closed. Thank you, God, for Table Raleigh for it is a glimpse of God’s Kingdom on earth – a place for us all to gather, eat from the same menu and share the same table. West Raleigh go find your place at Table Raleigh for it is a gift from God for the people of God!