LifeLine Toledo Community Dinners in Pastor's Home

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LifeLine Toledo is a church community that believes church can happen anywhere that people gather. This congregation with no building has built quite a following through small group meetings in coffee shops and homes and opportunities for community service. However, the largest gathering happens once a month, a community dinner in the home of Pastor Steve North. 

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Script:
(Toledo, Ohio)

(standing over the grill) “I believe you need to turn the heat up.” “Steve told me to turn it down.”

Once a month, the Reverend Steve North opens his own home to invite all of Toledo for a free dinner.

(Rev. Steve North giving the tour through his front door.) “It’s just opening our home to people so we can build community and bridge divides and things like that. And so, people just come from all over. In fact, at any given time, if I walk into a room, I find there’s somebody here I didn’t know had arrived.”

This is not a potluck and there are no requests for money. LifeLine Toledo provides the food to make sure that everyone feels welcome at this table.

Rev. Steve North, LifeLine Toledo: “We always have a lot of food. In fact, tonight just grilling and smoking items, we had over 200 pounds. Out back here, we have people outside here as well. This ends whenever the last people leave and normally, that’s around 2:30 in the morning, something like that, and the record is 7 am. And the thing is the people, even though they need to leave, they usually don’t want to because it’s just a great place to be. You get to be together. (to a man at the table) ‘Hey, Craig how you doin? It’s the best place to be in Toledo on a Saturday night.”

(man playing piano)

Steve’s house is home base for LifeLine Toledo, a United Methodist Church for people who might not come to a traditional church.

Quinton Thomas: “You know, for 8 years, I never considered it as a church. Being involved in this community, my favorite part, is just getting to know everybody.”

(woman with guitar singing)

LifeLine Toledo hosts open mic nights, weekly weird church, and the congregation bakes their own communion bread.

Trina Hooper: “I would come back. Sunday night he was telling me that they make their communion bread together. And I’m like, ‘Wow. What a great idea!’ I’m gonna tell my husband I’d like to come.”

Claire McKenna: “And so, then I started coming to Sunday night “Weird Church” which was the first time I’ve ever been to church before in my life. And so, this whole community has kind of given me a new perspective on faith.”

Rev. Steve North: “Last year at a community dinner one of the guys who’s regularly with us (his name is Ron). He was sitting out in back and I came in and I was walking up to the house. He said, Hey, Steve, when does church start? I said, Ron, everything we do is church.”

Over a decade, the community dinner has drawn as many as 230 people a month to Steve’s historic home. LifeLine Toledo hopes you’ll come for the food and stay for the fellowship that this this quirky, unconventional church has to offer.

Rev. Steve North: “Twelve years! And it’s one of the best things I’ve ever gotten to be a part of.”

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The community dinner happens on the first Saturday of every month. LifeLine Toledo is a ministry of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. LifeLine Toledo also hosts a free mobile medical clinic every Saturday in a converted Greyhound bus.

This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee.
Media contact is Joe Iovino, [email protected].
This video was first posted on September 18, 2019.