About the Break Bread Initiative
What is the Break Bread initiative?
Break Bread is an initiative to connect people in community through private dinners to grow relationally in our cities. The goal is to meet people different from ourself, work on cultural blind spots, make inter-generational connections, and share our stories with one another. We desire to foster relationships across racial, geographical, generational, socio-economic and denominational lines in our cities.
Our vision is for Break Bread to be a movement used as a community tool for generating relational capital among folks from different backgrounds in our cities. It follows the model of Jesus of Nazareth of having a meal together in a private home with people different than ourselves.
The dinners are designed for a host couple(s) to invite two or three additional couples and individuals to join for a meal. By design, the hosts and invitees should represent folks from different racial, socio-economic, generational, or faith backgrounds. The host couple(s) decides the meal and the invitees are guests for the evening.
What is the objective of the dinners?
We believe the outcome of sharing stories and engaging in vibrant, open discussions in a private home, and having a meal and a prayer together will lead to relational connections and unexpected momentum to foster change.
What do we talk about?
Discussion topics for Break Bread dinner vary, but most often fall withn three pillar themes: “Different from Me”, Racial Reconciliation, and Inter-generational Values.
“Different from Me”
Effective communication and collaboration requires more than tolerance or respect for difference, it requires a willingness to engage and learn about things that make us different— or the same. By talking about and across differences, and by sharing our stories, we can understand commonalities and build transformative relationships that strengthen our community. The "Different from Me" pillar encourages people from all walks of life to share a meal and share their lived experience. As is the case with all Breaking Bread dinners, the hosts and invitees should represent varied backgrounds; racial, ethnic, socio-economic, generational, ability/disability or faith backgrounds. These dinners are also a great opportunity to explore diverse culinary traditions.
In many of our cities there remain unresolved differences stemming from the the Civil Rights Era and beyond. These lingering differences often stymie our efforts bring communities together and move forward. Break Bread dinners discussions on the racial reconciliation pillar discuss these differences as the are seen and experienced by participants in an open and safe environment, with the intent of fostering a greater understanding and a means for building lasting relationships. To spark conversation, groups may engage in discussion of a commonly read book or article, or view and discuss a film.
In addition to race or culture, age is another prism through which we view life; our values influence what we see and do. The inter-generational values pillar encourages people of different ages to interact with each other and discuss if and how differences in age shape our values.
The dinners encourage the sharing of personal stories and an examination of a specific cultural value. Attendees are given a small booklet on the topic of a chosen value but are encouraged to share part of their story as it relates to the value: personal challenges and successes. The list of values includes: Gratitude, Forgiveness, Respect, Optimism, Courage, Commitment, Love, Kindness, Integrity, Patience, Honesty, and Generosity. It is up to the hosts to decide how to engage their guests to share personal stories as it relates to the value being discussed.
Who can attend?
The dinners are open to everyone. They are not religious. The evening simply seeks to follow the example of Jesus of sharing a meal with those different than yourself. An important part of the meal is to open and close it with a prayer.
How do I sign up?
Visit the Contact Us page and send us a message about your willingness to either host or attend an upcoming Break Bread dinner. You will be contacted by the Break Bread Administrator in your city and assigned to a dinner or helped in completing a dinner that you are hosting.
Sign up and come prepared to enjoy a nice meal together, to share your story and be an active participant.
How can I start a Break Bread chapter in my city?
If you would like to start a calendar of dinners in your city, complete the contact form, and you will be contacted by our Break Bread Administrator.
What happens after the dinner?
What happens next is up to the members of the group. Our hope is that the first Break Bread dinner will be the start of new relationships and inspire a desire to meet again. Break Bread dinners may be a one time event focused on specific topic, or they may follow a recurring schedule based on a series of topics. The frequency of the dinners are up to the groups to decide. The goal is not to necessarily generate friendships, as nice as that would be, but to generate relationships which can be useful in helping unite a city by connecting in community with people different than ourselves.