NEWTON, Kansas (Mennonite Mission Network) — Hospitality takes many forms. For Open Door Mennonite Church in Jackson, Mississippi, the act of giving and receiving hospitality is often expressed through food. Every second Sunday of the month, the congregation gathers together, after the service, to share a potluck meal.
As the host congregation for the Jackson Service Adventure unit, the church has been welcoming unit participants and leaders to these gatherings since the unit opened in 2016. One year, when the Service Adventure unit included participants with gluten and sugar allergies, the congregation made the decision that every dish at their potlucks would be gluten- and sugar-free.
Mark Roth, a member of Open Door, recalled, in a recent phone interview, that the Service Adventure participants "had more than once made comments [that] they were just really surprised that we would try to go the extra mile to accommodate them."
"But it's like, well, you're a part of us," he continued. "And we're not going to exclude you because you have an allergy." Roth, as well as other members of the congregation, began coordinating meals to make sure that gluten- and sugar-free main dishes, side dishes, vegetables and desserts were all available at each potluck. The church and the unit shared the cost of bulk bags of the expensive sugar substitute to facilitate goodies like brownies and cookies. "It was very helpful for us as a church, in our quest to be inclusive, [to realize] that food allergies are just as important as other issues," Roth said.
This recipe is one of two that Roth adapted to be both gluten- and sugar-free for the congregation to share together. Follow this link for Roth's go-to recipe for gluten-free, sugar-free brownies.
60 minute gluten-free dinner rolls
2 tablespoons yeast
1 ½ cups warm milk
1 teaspoons salt
¼ cups melted margarine
4 ¼ cups gluten-free flour
Combine yeast and milk; stir until yeast dissolves. Add salt and margarine; mix together. Add one cup flour; beat until smooth. Add the rest of the flour, one cup at a time, stirring well after each cup. Let dough rise for 15-20 minutes, until it has doubled in size. Form into balls and place in a baking pan, keeping the dough balls close to each other, but not touching. Let rise 15-20 minutes more, until they have doubled in size. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes, or until tops are slightly browned. Remove from pan. Cool for five minutes.