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A Minnesota pastor’s pulpit: Not just your ordinary food truck

Sunday, August 24, 2014
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Pastor Margaret Kelly closes a short service with prayer, at the food truck ministry she runs on Payne Avenue in St. Paul, Minn. on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. At left is Kelly's mother Carol. At left is Maurice Tribbett holding his daughter Grace, 15-months.Scott Takushi, AP

Pastor Margaret Kelly closes a short service with prayer, at the food truck ministry she runs on Payne Avenue in St. Paul, Minn. on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. At left is Kelly’s mother Carol. At left is Maurice Tribbett holding his daughter Grace, 15-months.

“This is where everybody’s at,” said Shobi’s Table volunteer Maurice Tribbett. “I come from the same place these people do. I used to be a gang member. I used to be a drug addict. I used to be homeless.”

“We come to them. It’s kind of meeting people where they’re at, spiritually, physically and emotionally,” said Tribbett’s wife, Mary Magill-Tribbett.

You don’t have to be sober to get a meal at the truck. You don’t have stick around for a service.

“I’m not bothered if people just want to eat and run and don’t want any religion,” Kelly said. “It’s a gift from Christ, but it’s not staring you in the face. This is a free lunch because Jesus is free.”

On the Shobi’s Table sign that’s set up on the sidewalk, the words “Lutheran Church” are in fine print.

But after giving out about 140 calzones, Kelly asks the handful of people still gathered on the sidewalk around the truck, “Shall we do some religion?”

“We keep things pretty simple. We read some Scripture and say some prayers,” she said.

“The word of God, yeah,” she said after reading from Romans, Chapter 8.

Kelly said the food truck won’t go into hibernation when winter comes. She hopes to get a heated tent and keep serving. Eventually, she would like to get her own truck and serve more days of the week. She also would like to partner with churches to get vegetables supplied from community gardens.

“A lot of this is breaking new ground in the church,” said Kelly’s boss, Erickson. “We’re grateful for this chance to take on some holy experiments.”

Erickson said the food-truck church eventually could offer curbside counseling and health services, along with traditional worship rites such as baptisms and communion.

“It’s not a traditional church. It doesn’t have a building. It will never have a building. But it will be a church in a traditional sense of the word,” Erickson said.

Distributed via the Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
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