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Clergy that cooks

Light of the World Lutheran Church pastor intern Nate Toso, Faith United Methodist Rev. Kevin Fox, and LOTWL Rev. Deb Stehlin pooled their culinary skills to help a local military family Tuesday.1 / 2
Pans of pasta and chicken and meatloaf lined the counter at Farmington Lutheran Church while local ministers made meals for a local military family.2 / 2

It was cold outside Tuesday afternoon, but the inside of Farmington Lutheran Church was filled with warmth.

There was warmth, in the form of laughter, cooperation, camaraderie, and a love for someone the people who gathered that day didn't even know. Having the stove and oven on didn't hurt, either.

It was an afternoon of what can affectionately be called "cooking with the clergy." On Tuesday, members of the Farmington Ministerial Association gathered to make a meal. Or two. Or more.

A handful of the community's pastors gathered to make meals for a local military family. The father of the family is stationed in Iraq, and the mother was looking for a helping hand. Between working full time and attending to all of the details of everyday family life, she has felt a little overwhelmed.

One afternoon, not so long ago, the pastors were planning the community Thanksgiving service. Eventually, Rev. Phil Walen suggested it would be a nice to do something simple to help a family. It would be a way to develop a relationship between the church communities, and to make a statement about how they can come together as neighbors.

Light of the World Lutheran Church Rev. Deb Stehlin suggested they take the idea one step further. As a member of Farmington's Warrior to Citizen group, Stehlin suggested they connect with the civic organization to see if there was a family who was looking for some assistance.

"That family has expressed a need," Stehlin said. "If you don't have to put a whole meal together from scratch, that goes a long way. This is a really important thing, to help (the mother) handle life as a single parent for a while."

And so there they were Tuesday afternoon. Cutting, dicing, mushing, slicing. The banter was light, conversations moved easily from one subject to the next. Over at the sink, St. Michael's Catholic Church pastoral associate Sandy Glau and First United Presbyterian Church Rev. Terry Roos tackled the dishes.

At one counter, LOTWL intern pastor Nate Toso and Faith United Methodist Church Rev. Kevin Fox worked on lasagna and meatloaf. Meanwhile, Lord of Life Rev. Jamie Thompson and Walen set to work cleaning an eight pound bag of potatoes.

The group worked for a few hours - they started with a trip to Econofoods at 12:30 p.m., then set to work in the kitchen at Farmington Lutheran. As the pans of food started to line up, it became evident this military family would be good with meals for one, possibly even two weeks.

"Hopefully we made a little difference in someone's lives," Stehlin said. "And it's an opportunity for us to have a little fun in the process."

But having fun wasn't the only reason they got together that afternoon. It was also a chance for the group to come together and be a model for Farmington, one that encourages people to work together and serve others.