Sharing the Bread of Life

Views 152 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 2 - 3 - 2014 | By: Bunty Drewitt


Relegated to the other side of an artificial social barrier, the marginalized members of society often lack the community of food and friendship. Westmont’s Bread of Life ministry aims to achieve this community every Thursday night in Alameda Park. Bread of Life has served Santa Barbara’s homeless and inspired young Christians for almost a decade, broadening students’ perspectives and enriching lives in service to Christ.

As faculty leader for Bread of Life ministries, Rebecca Gist’s responsibilities include continuing the ministry during breaks and mentoring students as they embark on the same transformative journey she experienced upon joining Bread of Life during her time at Westmont. Gist describes Bread of Life as a place she experienced God, and firmly believes that serving those on society’s periphery is an “integral part of the Christian faith.”

Second-year Scott Myrvold, a communication studies major, is an enthusiastic student leader for the Bread of Life ministry. His role includes organizing the communication between various aspects of the ministry, including transportation, advertising and safety.

During Bread of Life’s debriefing sessions, Myrvold and his co-leader third-year Elizabeth Cormode answer questions about the night, training students to deal with certain situations that arise and helping them to gain perspective and knowledge about the culture of homelessness. This cultural exploration is what captured Myrvold’s attention upon first encountering Bread of Life. He learned to “look closer” at a group of people who are too often “overlooked.”

Myrvold realized the importance of meeting needs locally. Not only can volunteers provide food and other material necessities, but local missions can also build authentic and relationships between individuals on a consistent basis. Myrvold’s involvement with Bread of Life has “made me feel I’m on the right track.” According to the student leader, “We discover who we are though mission [and] all have the mission of God in common.”

Cormode has been involved with Bread of Life since her freshman year. For the past two years, Cormode has been responsible for cooking for the ministry’s weekly outreaches. As she listened to people’s stories, Cormode began to “question the legal system,” realizing that these people are “victims of circumstance, often mentally impaired with depression, addiction or disorders.”

Bread of Life gave Cormode, a psychology major, real-life experience with some of the disorders the classroom abstractly taught her, and an opportunity to dig deeper into mental issues by asking her professors how to deal with people that suffer from certain mental disorders.

Cormode and many of the other committed students involved in the ministry describe Bread of Life as an irreversible change in perspective, one that views homeless individuals not as entities to be feared or avoided, but as brothers and sisters in need of God’s love.

Bread of Life seeks to battle dehumanization, shatter ignorance, muster communication and community and enlighten students through the power of service and fellowship.


Comments


tester | I think Bread of Life is cool! ~ about 7 years ago.

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