Open Table is a national ministry brought to our community through the Manchester Fellowship of Churches. Open Table seeks to walk with individuals and families (Brothers/Sisters) who are stuck in poverty yet longing for change & community. Tables of 6-8 members form to invest time, resources, and relationship in this “brother/sister” over an extended period of time in the name of Jesus.
“Open Table has been a wonderful experience for us. They have helped us in realizing some of our hopes and dreams. But, they have also helped through the rough patches as well. If asked to explain Open Table to people, I would have to say: It’s like having your very own cheerleaders, coaches, advisors, counselors, spiritualists, and just good listeners.”Table Brother/Sister
THE OPEN TABLE MODEL
- Open Table is an organization that uses models and processes to teach faith-community members/sectors with different backgrounds how to utilize their networks and resources to invest themselves in people in their community with complex/intricate needs throughout the duration of a “Table.” Tables focus on individuals or families that are attempting, but need support, to overcome poverty. The individuals are typically referred to as Brother/Sister.
- Each Table is hosted by a congregation(s) or organization that are partnered together. Required teams of volunteers (6-8 people for an adult/family, 5-6 for a young adult aging out of foster care) invest in a Brother/Sister for an 8 to 12 month period. Tables typically meet for one hour once a week for the first 6 months and then more on an as-needed basis while the work progresses.
- Table members work individually and all together as a team to provide leadership and encouragement in the program. Each Table member has a specific focus (or chair responsibility) and yet can contribute to the various needs that arise. For example, a “healthcare” table member who may work or have experience in healthcare, can provide resources and guidance to the Brother/Sister, specific to healthcare, but may also recommend a reliable mechanic or have knowledge about an educational opportunity.
- There is an application process for those wishing to serve as a Table member and for those interested or referred to be a Brother/Sister.
THERE IS A CHAIR FOR YOU AT OUR TABLE
Please consider filling out the OPEN TABLE table-member application. Your willingness to serve in this capacity will impact the lives of others and our community, but you will also be impacted. You don’t need to be an expert in any area. Our collective networking resources will enable us to assist the brother/sister in need to move beyond the point of poverty. The impact is more than financial stability. The emotional, relational, and spiritual impact is equally evident.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Open Table?
Open Table is an organization that uses models and processes to teach faith-community members/sectors with different backgrounds how to utilize their networks and resources to invest themselves in people in their community with complex/intricate needs throughout the duration of a “Table.” Tables focus on individuals or families that are attempting, but need support, to overcome the various aspects of poverty.
What exactly does Open Table do?
People in poverty who have a desire to better their lives are empowered through the Table model to be lifted out of their current situation into a life of self-sustainability, one individual/family at a time.
Is there a cost to be a Table Member or a “Brother/Sister”?
There is NO cost to the “Brother/Sister”. However, each table member raises or pays a $120 mission contribution. The Manchester Fellowship of Churches will pay at least half of this, while any remaining amount is covered by the local church, family/friends, or personal resources. These table member funds are then used to off-set expenses for training, ongoing support, and ministry expansion.
Is Open Table a non-profit organization? And how can I make a local donation?
Yes, Open Table is a non-profit organization that has been active for over 14 years. Locally, the Manchester Fellowship of Churches started its first Open Table in 2015. Donations to cover training efforts, fees and licenses, and miscellaneous resources can be made by check to Manchester Fellowship of Churches and mailed to Joyce Eberly (606 E Fifth St, North Manchester, IN 46962).
How do I become a table member? Become a “Brother/Sister”? Or Make a referral?
When a local table is developing, an application will be available for those interested in serving as a table member (available now HERE). To be considered as an Open Table recipient (Brother/Sister) or make a referral of someone who may benefit from this ministry, contact Open Table Co-Coordinators Joyce Eberly (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kurt Stout (Kurt@nmfbc.org).
How is the individual or family chosen?
An individual or family is typically referred by a caring friend, partnering organization, or congregation. That individual/couple is interviewed for the Table to decide whether they are ready for change, understand the commitment, and are genuinely trying to better their lives.
How long is the commitment to a Table?
The duration of a Table is typically 8 to 12 months. Tables typically meet for one hour once a week for the first 6 months and then more on an as-needed basis while the work progresses.
Why are the chosen individual/family referred to as “brother” or “sister”?
The people that Open Table help are called Brothers and Sisters, influenced by Martin Luther King’s vision that “we are inevitably our brother’s keeper because we are our brother’s brother.”