In 2009, leadership in the Harlem Region of the New York City Church of Christ was inspired to start a new family tradition within its fellowship. We wanted to do something free for the disciples, their friends, and family, because they sacrifice so much financially throughout the year. The idea of a church picnic surfaced, but we did not want to do just an ordinary church picnic. We wanted to have a feast! We also wanted to keep it biblical and that’s why we use the term “Love Feast.”
The first Christians generally celebrated the Lord’s Supper with the accompaniment of a meal, called the “agape” or “love feast.” It was linked with the Lord’s Supper in Acts 2:46 and also Acts 20:7. The words ‘after supper’ in the tradition quoted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 indicate that the Lord’s Supper was originally a full meal, introduced by the blessing and breaking of the bread and concluded by the blessing and passing of the cup.
In Acts 2:42 “breaking of bread” could mean both eating together and celebrating the Lord’s Supper. We wanted our time together to keep as close to the scriptures as possible. Although we practice the passing of the bread and juice at our Sunday worship services, there’s nothing like having a feast to follow! Hiring a local supermarket chain to cater the feast for the disciples in Harlem and reserving a large picnic area at a local park, we would average our highest attendance for the year on that day; over 450 in attendance!
Several people have come to Christ since we started hosting our Love Feasts. In 2012, Charlene Jerome attended our Love Feast at Randall’s Island, NY. She was baptized into Christ and now serves as a singles representative on our core leadership team. In 2017, Ashely Halsey attended our Love Feast and started studying the Bible shortly thereafter. She was baptized in December 2017. That same year Eddie Martorreal attended his first Love Feast. He was “blown away” by the love and warmth he received from the disciples. So much so that he started studying the Bible and became your brother in Christ on March 29, 2019!
God continues to bless our Love Feast each year with new faces and new memories. Pray that we can continue to honor our Lord and Savior as we carry our crosses and spread the love!