; charset=UTF-8" /> Safe Plates at Waquoit Congregational Church Dinner Helps Support Four Local Groups That Promote Safety and Acceptance : Connecting Voices
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Safe Plates at Waquoit Congregational Church Dinner Helps Support Four Local Groups That Promote Safety and Acceptance

(Source:  Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ, www.macucc.org/spotlight)

waquoitFollowing the election, many churches sensed there was a need to support people who were feeling vulnerable and find ways to help them feel safe.  So when two local businesswomen approached Rev. Nell Fields, Minister of the Waquoit Congregational Church in East Falmouth to ask her about hosting a dinner in the church hall to benefit local groups that promote safety and acceptance, Fields agreed.

Laura Higgins-Baltzley, a well-known award-winning chef and owner of a local restaurant, and Annie Konner-Higgins, owner of a neighboring vegetable farm and bakery, prepared a comfort food buffet, while the church staged and served the “Safe Plates” dinner. The women felt this was their way to bring positive light to the community and alleviate some of the negative feelings they and others were feeling as a result of recent political tension.

They planned for 200 people, saw a great response from their promotions, and decided to increase their supplies to feed 300, but that still wasn’t enough.  They started running out of food before the end of the evening.

That large crowd, who endured long lines to get into the event, helped to raise over $5000 for No Place for Hate, PFLAG, Engage Falmouth and Cape Cod Center for Women.

“The money that we received from the Safe Plates event will support a variety of programs at PFLAG including those designed to bring greater awareness on Cape Cod to the needs and challenges of our LGBTQ community,” explained Eric Nelson, Acting Co-Chair of PFLAG of Cape Cod.  “It will also allow us to further our efforts in supporting legislation that ends discriminatory practices targeting our LGBTQ friends in Massachusetts, and beyond.”

Lauren Valle, of Engage Falmouth, was interviewed by the local cable television station and said “there’s a lot of collaboration going on with organizations that have similar values.  People are realizing that we are stronger together, as the phrase goes, and that each organization benefits from the work of another and that we need each other.”

Not only did people show up, but they were making donations above the $12 suggested ticket price.

“What I really loved,” said Fields, “was to see people sit, shoulder to shoulder, with people they never knew before, never met before, and yet were now talking with each other.”

After seeing the line of people waiting patiently outside the church hall, Konner-Higgins said she had tears of joy and was overwhelmed by the turn out. “It truly takes a village.”

“Fantastic night,” wrote Theresa Stirling on the church Facebook page. “Could feel the love and blessings of community!”

“The Safe Plates event itself was a most humbling experience,” said Nelson.  “From the volunteers who cheerfully greeted, served and assisted those who attended, to the pastor who literally brought people in from the cold who were getting chilled while standing in line (and gave us all warming hugs), to the talented kitchen crew who cooked all of the absolutely delicious chicken, sides, and dessert, and, finally, to all those who joined us at the table of friendship and community to partake in a wondrous meal and good conversation; to all of them, and their support, we are most grateful.”

Maybe some of the success can be attributed to the buttermilk fried chicken, baked mac and cheese, broccoli slaw, butternut squash lasagna, or the apple crisp prepared by talented cooks.  But a great deal more of the success can be attributed to the community.

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Rev. Fields can be reached at the church office at 508-548-5269 or email waquoitucc@comcast.net. Visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Waquoit-Congregational-Church-170304582979813You can watch the local cable coverage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCZ8tnw95Tw

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