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Loaves and Fishes - our monthly lunch group


Loaves and Fishes was the idea of our former curate Ben Brown, his idea, that the Church Hall should host a monthly lunch group, primarily aimed at those who might otherwise be dining alone. Lunch would be followed by a short talk, primarily of a spiritual theme. Numbers would be limited by the capacity of the hall. Once the scheme had been approved by the PCC there were a number of legal hurdles to overcome.


Bizarrely, our monthly lunch group is constrained by the same regulations as, for

example, The Savoy Grill, and before lunches could start the lunch group had to be

registered with the Local Authority and our policies and procedures inspected and approved. The lunches cannot take place without at least one of the organisers/ cooks having an up-to-date Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering Certificate. Several days out at the Civic building in Morden followed, but now training is online which is both more convenient and a third of the cost.


At our most recent inspection by the Local Authority, we retained our 5-star rating. Four

members of the current team have passed the Level 2 Food Safety Certificate.

Father Ben had a rather more optimistic view of what could be achieved in the hall kitchen than the team of cooks/ helpers assembled to prepare the lunches, and the format quickly settled down into a menu of a choice of two soups, sandwiches (initially made on the premises but now to the relief of all, brought up from Piggies) and either cake or biscuits followed by tea or coffee.


Not all our lunches follow this pattern; allowing for the limitations of the hall we always have special lunches at Christmas. To commemorate the 100 th anniversary of the end of the First World War in November 2018 all the diners took home a (bagged) slice of iced fruit cake decorated with poppies.


Most recently we have held a held a special lunch to mark HM the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, at which HM the Queen made a welcome, if silent, appearance.


Father Ben proposed we have a series of speakers on a spiritual theme. There have been a few including Father Darren came to talk about Lent . We have also had talks about charities including WaterAid. There has also been a lot of music, and we must thank Juliet Chaplin for organising an a cappella choir every Christmas and a variety of other musical events.


Sadly, post covid we have had no speakers, but Ralph John has been kept busy creating

quizzes to intrigue and infuriate our reduced number of diners.


We must hope that over time numbers will increase, and the ‘new normal’ will become the ‘old normal’ once more.


To find out more about Loaves and Fishes - contact Julia or email the office (office@cheamparish.org.uk) for more information.



Julia Hey





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