The Block Island Times

Roll Call Dinner is this week

By Lars Trodson | Oct 22, 2013
Photo by: Rheba McKernan A past roll call dinner at the Harbor Baptist Church.

So many American traditions center around the idea of family and friends sitting down at a table and sharing a common experience. It’s in the genetic structure of Thanksgiving and the meals we share on Christmas and Easter. “Breaking bread” is an expression that defines both an outreach of friendship and an effort to set aside past differences.

“Breaking bread,” in other words, is a good thing.

In that spirit, the public is invited to break bread this Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Harbor Baptist Church. The meal is an old-fashioned holiday menu — turkey with all the fixings — served up with a healthy side dish of camaraderie with friends, family and strangers alike. Seating begins at 5 p.m. and dinner is served until 7 p.m. Takeout is available, and some meals will be delivered to those who cannot make it to the church. Donations, which help fund the church’s ministerial work, are requested.

“There’s no proselytizing, it’s just a community get-together,” said congregation member Rheba McKernan. Students from the Block Island School will help do the serving, according to McKernan.

The “Roll Call Dinner,” as it’s called, has been a Harbor Church tradition since 1900. The dinner follows Roll Call Sunday, during which each member of the congregation is called upon and given the opportunity to respond with a verse or simply with something to share — faith-based or secular.

The dinner occurs every year on the Tuesday that is closest to Oct. 23, the date the Harbor Church was first gathered in 1765.

This year, aside from the 26 turkeys and more than 200 pounds of potatoes, there will be an added feature: a slideshow featuring the history of the old ferry Yankee, which is now docked in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, N.Y. The old boat served the island from 1947 until 1983.

So, as the weather gets a little colder, and visitors to the island become a little less frequent, take a moment, if you haven’t, to visit the old Harbor Church or revisit the church to spend a few moments with friends new and old.

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