Update from your Kitchen Team

We have heard you! And, we appreciate your insights about our parish kitchen, its current limitations and how it could and should be used. Thank you for taking the time to complete our questionnaire.

There appears to be agreement among those who have experienced cooking, serving and cleaning in our kitchen, that the major appliances are inadequate and in need of an upgrade. Comments included: “oven is slow”, “refrigerator is not good”, “refrigerator is too small”, “sink is hard to use”, “need continued availability of a sink for hand washing”, “dishwasher is old”, “inadequate ventilation.”

Although some responded that work space was adequate, others stated the work space is inadequate (“poorly designed, needs help”, “inefficient”, “cramped” and “too compact”) and that we need more storage areas.

Other comments concerned utilities and safety issues. One person noted that “coffee makers have to be moved around or a fuse will blow” and that we need an “electric upgrade”. Another mentioned “health violations” as an issue.

What happens behind the scenes in the preparation of those delicious meals that we enjoy at Celtic Faire and other special events? Personally, I had no idea. The food is great and there is always a smiling team of volunteers, from the chefs to the cleaning crew. Then I volunteered to help, and gained an appreciation for what it takes to produce a meal for 100 people in a kitchen equipped with residential-grade appliances, in an area too cramped for the number of people it takes to do all the work! Remembering this experience, I do appreciate one person’s questionnaire comment, “I am also concerned that the push to replace has been more about frustrations with its limitations than from a particular vision for why a new kitchen will enable us to do x, y, or z.”

Which brings us to an important point to consider in our kitchen improvement effort. We  must keep in mind the mission of St. Andrews: “To know Christ and make Christ known.”
Thus, as we embark upon this project, we must ask ourselves, “What role does our parish kitchen play in carrying out this mission?” This was the subject of our most recent team meeting, during which we discussed all the food-centric events that bring us together as a parish. There were numerous suggestions on how an upgraded kitchen would enable us to expand such gatherings. The team, plus your questionnaire responses suggested: weekly or monthly family night with a meal prior to meetings/activities such as youth group, choir practice, Bible study, etc; regular Sunday lunches and quarterly meals that incorporate education.

These are enticing ideas for our parishioners, but the big question remains, “How would a renovated kitchen help us reach out to the greater community and in so doing make Christ known?” As one questionnaire response so aptly stated: “Food and fellowship always go together, so anytime food can be offered is a chance to bring people in to hear the Gospel message”. Other suggestions:the kitchen facilities could be used for wedding receptions, more non-profit groups, scouts, Phoenix Housing, or a soup kitchen.

With all this in mind, where do we go from here? This is not a question easily answered by a handful of people. As Father Martin said at the congregational meeting, “The kitchen belongs to all of you.” There are options to explore, and as the Kitchen Team continues their work, we will beconsidering all possibilities. Do we fix just the basics (replace major appliances)? Do we expand the footprint, and if so, how much? Or do we build a kitchen that will encompass everything? Of course, any options must include, at the very least, health department recommendations/ requirements and utility upgrades. We will be discussing all this informally with a kitchen design consultant in order to answer the biggest question – How much will all this cost?

We welcome your thoughts and ideas….plus a bit of prayer for guidance and wisdom as we  travel this journey.