Last December, the RCB team convened for a staff meeting and this one was catered. Free lunch is occasional, and when it happens, Lange’s usually serves the goods. But this time, I found myself in a realm of the unfamiliar. Jerk chicken. Chili salmon. Fried plantains! I made a plate and took a bite and what I experienced in that moment stopped my ability to listen in the meeting.

Because that bite was that good.

Pastor Christian had facilitated the catering from a new restaurant called Jungle in Mount Vernon and the reason why we were having it is because the owner, Duran Foxton, is a member at RCB (as is his wife Tahrirah). As wonderful ministers do, Christian connected Duran and his gift of cooking and brought it to others, showcasing the glorious gift of his congregant. By doing so, he created another example of my world opening to a new experience without me even having to seek it.

Through church.

RCB is a spiritual place that offers a hub of experience. It’s a location to meet people and to discover new things, and what happens afterwards reveals an opportunity to grow.

From Romans 12:2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Have I been transformed personally by the renewing of my mind at RCB? I feel like it’s happening often. Have I proven the will of God? That one’s unclear, but I feel like that will is with me as I work closely with people who were previously incarcerated. As I socialize with friends who are over the age of 80. When I witness what homelessness and food insecurity looks like locally, as we volunteers, try and help. And I now happily support a culturally diverse and delicious place to get takeout or visit that’s 5 minutes away that I definitely wouldn’t have found myself, run by Duran and Tahirah, who share their talents with others to create something positive in the world. Three years ago, these two discovered RCB on their jogging route (as if that was an accident…). It was at a time they were looking for a new church home and they stepped in with full intent to try something new with their family, who includes 5 year Mason who could not be cuter as he sings in the Cherub Choir.

On my 51st birthday, I called a college friend for dinner who lives in Larchmont and we met at Jungle where I enthusiastically introduced myself to Duran and then overwhelmed him with accolades (see above). In return, he made us a magnificent meal and by doing so, my stomach expanded- but so did my soul.

Hope you find a night to experience Jungle for yourself, or come to RCB to explore many other palpable opportunities.