Neighbor helping neighbor
Forty-three years ago, Jan Coen decided that Christians ought to be doing more to care for poor and the hungry on our peninsula. She gathered a group of church and community leaders, and, together, they launched FISH Food Bank. The “fish” in the title is a not-at-all subtle reference to the ancient sign of the Christian: the “icthus” fish. In Greek, the word “icthus” is an acrostic for “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.”
During a time of severe persecution, being a Christian could be hazardous! So believers developed a clever password to identify one other. As two strangers talked, one would make a seemingly random curved arch in the dust with his toe. If the other person created a similar overlapping arch in the other direction, thus forming the rough outline of a fish, they knew that they had met a fellow-Christian.
I go into this detail because under the Coens’ leadership, Peninsula FISH has stuck unwaveringly to its Christian identity. In the era of organizations dumbing down language deemed as too “Christian,” the Coens have done the opposite and doubled down, believing that this is an unashamedly Christian ministry of the local church. Of course, they serve anyone at all who has need of their services and they welcome all who wish to serve, regardless of faith. But the reason they do what they do is because they are servants of Jesus who told them to care for the hungry and the poor.
This weekend, the Coens will join us for worship and we are going to be sharing a very exciting “Beyond These Walls” announcement regarding their ministry. I think FISH Food Bank is one of the great ministry partners on this peninsula, loved and respected by all. I hope you’ll join us for this great news.