student life

Local Pastor Bakes Bread For Thiel College

By Taylor McKelvey

Pastor Brian Riddle’s Famous Communion Bread is made up of two and a half cups of whole wheat flour, seven eights cup of water, one fourth cup of honey, one teaspoon of salt and baking powder, and two and a half tablespoons of olive oil.

Five of these ingredients; flour, honey, oil, salt and baking powder, all evoke biblical imagery. The pastor explained how bread is the body of Christ, therefore, the ingredients have biblical meaning as well.

Before he began mixing these ingredients, he told two stories. He spoke of Camp Lutheran, and how on Friday nights when the parents would come to pick up their children, they would have a dinner.

On one particular Friday, at dinner, he had three servings of dinner rolls. He thought that the rolls were amazing, so he told the man who was serving them. The man replied by saying, “wait until you taste the communion bread.”

Riddle found this experience to be a true spiritual exchange. This man, who he had never met until that night was so excited to, not only, share this bread, he also wanted to share his religion.

The second story was while he was in seminary school. He told of a woman who accepted the duty of baking the bread for the chapel every week. She became overwhelmed with this responsibility, so Riddle decided to do it for her instead.

Riddle was not only a student in seminary at the time, but also a baker. So, every Wednesday he stayed up and baked bread, but soon became angry with himself for promising to do this, because he had his own student responsibilities.

Once he realized that it would be the body of Christ that he was baking and serving to the people of the church, his whole attitude changed. He realized that he controlled what goes into this bread. The chapel needed bread that was fresh, whole, authentic, and real.

Now every time he goes to purchase ingredients, he buys American brands and from local farmers’ markets. The flour he buys is King Arthur’s flour, an American brand. He also purchases the honey and olive oil from his neighbors, who own a local farmers’ market.

He finds it important to use all-natural ingredients to make the bread, because the people of the church are consuming it. The bread must embody the body of Christ.

After explaining this he began to make the bread. For him, the missing of the ingredients is very important. When he mixes the bread, he uses his hands. By doing this, he said that it makes him feel closer to Christ, because his hands are in the body of Christ, helping to make and shape it.

Riddle finds a true religious experience in all aspects of making the bread, from buying the ingredients, mixing them, and serving the bread to the people of his church.

Categories: student life

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