I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed it; but churches are places full of food.
Youth groups run on pizza and doughnuts; coffee and biscuits follow services, lasagne and quiches populate bring and share lunches.
And at the centre, is the Lord’s Supper, the sharing of bread and wine as family to remember Jesus’ last meal with his disciples when he pointed to what was to come.
For someone struggling with an eating disorder, church can quickly turn from a sanctuary to a siege.
We’ve put together a few ways you can help those who are struggling in your churches:
- Try to expand the range of food on offer; consider serving fruit alongside biscuits after church services, or working out a rota so that youth groups can have home cooked meals once a month together.
- Develop a theology of food – preach on it! Food is a part of everyones lives and it’s important that we can get to grips with what the Bible says about it.
- Get clued up – attend a seminar at a summer festival on eating disorders, read a book about it or attend a course like ours so that you can work out the best ways to respond in your community.
- If possible, try and let those struggling know what food will be served ahead of time at events like Alpha or a Marriage Course.
- Avoid using phrases such as “you look so healthy” or “you look so much better”, whilst the sentiment is great – for those with eating disorders they will very often hear phrases such as this as “you’re fat”. Instead, comment on their character or their smile.
- Pray for those living with eating disorders and those caring for them as a part of your intercessory prayers – its vital that praying for mental health conditions becomes the norm – not the exception.