A slice of pie is one thing everyone can agree upon
The Rev. Torey Lightcap
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
A month or so ago, I had the privilege of going over to the Children’s Mini College (where my son Gabriel participates three days a week) and showing the students how to make an apple pie. I had a marvelous time and learned a lot. Then I forgot all about it and went on my way, until someone mentioned something about me and a pie and the newspaper earlier this week, and then I remembered what I’d been intending to tell you before I forgot.
Which is only this: Pie is important. No, really. Just terribly important.
It’s more or less a consuming piece of business once it’s seized your imagination. Far from being just food, it’s an entire concept with deep theological import and a fuzzy sense of comfort and home. Pie is God’s way of telling us that everything is going to be OK.
Not long after graduating from seminary, I realized that part of what I needed to do in terms of my ministry would be to find something ” one thing out of the multitude ” that most folks would easily agree on. It couldn’t engender major controversy, and it couldn’t be anything you could have much of an opinion about other than to like it.
In the history of the church there’s not a lot of this sort of thing. So I looked for inspiration outside of my books, and I quickly realized that most folks will not turn down a piece of homemade pie and a cup of hot coffee or cold milk. (Mmm. C’mon, seriously ” who’d walk away?)
Thereafter I would soon discover a truism for ministry in a church setting. If someone is upset at you or anyone else, a little piece of pie (“Really, we just happen to have some left over”) and a cushy chair will take the edge off just about every time.
After I’d been ordained to the priesthood for just a few months, my boss took sick and I found myself in charge of a church of about 250 souls. It was exhilarating work for me, but it quickly became clear that the staff of the church (there were eight of us) needed a little soul food.
Thus, “Pie Ministry” was born. Once a week we would assemble and, at my reminding, talk about something besides church business as we all had a slice of this or that: cherry, peach, raspberry, icebox, pumpkin, pecan. I soon took on a new title ” the director of Pie Ministry, for the Office of Pie Ministries ” which led me to judge a pie contest at our annual bazaar. (I’m told that at around the 30th piece I judged, I was heard to mutter that it had been “my finest hour.”)
Upon departing that job, I was given a T-shirt I still cherish bearing my self-proclaimed title. I declared that wherever I go, in addition to any official title, I would also be the director of Pie Ministry.
And that brings me to Glenwood, and St. Barnabas, where pie is not so much part of the public tapestry and face of the congregation, but still remains a vital part of what I like to do.
Nothing breaks into the winter doldrums like a slice of cranberry-pear pie, hot from the oven, or that rosemary-infused crust on apple pie I’ve been getting such mileage out of lately. Put a tender, flaky homemade crust underneath (and on top, or go convertible), and you’re telling people you think they’re just swell.
By and large we are a community of exercisers, which means it’s OK to indulge every once in a while unless you’re in heavy training for something. In which case, forgo that pie for now, promise yourself two slices down the road instead of one, and hop back on your bike.
Meanwhile, tell someone you love them by allowing them to think that you slaved in the kitchen for hours and hours. A little flour, salt, shortening and water is all it takes to produce a homemade double crust, and everything between top and bottom is largely a matter of personal taste and seasonal availability.
Have a lovely week, everyone, and give yourselves a little comfort.
The Rev. Torey Lightcap is priest-in-charge of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Glenwood Springs (www.saint-barnabas.info). Torey and his wife have two children and live in New Castle.
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