Personal Perspective: Student enters Living Spirit’s Open Door for community lunch

Community members attend open doorlunch at Living Spirit Church – a communal atmosphere where people come for good food and good conversation.

Perhaps you have passed by it on your way to Rice Box or McDonald’s. Perhaps you tan across the street.  Chances are that you have paid little attention to the Living Spirit Church that sits right off of Wood Avenue just south of Seven Points. Don’t worry though, the friendly faces inside will be more than willing to forgive you.

 Every Thursday at noon, the Living Spirit Church opens its doors to everyone in the community for the Open Door lunch. The staff prepare food and invite anyone who wants a free meal and good conversation to come and partake.

 When I first stepped inside of the white building with multi-colored windows, I took a seat in the main room. Along all of the walls are various paintings depicting spirituality, serenity and peace. In one corner was a basket with a few hand drums and in the other corner sat a piano. On the back wall were two posters with two different prayers printed in large letters.  As I observed my surroundings, I heard the voices and laughter of people upstairs. I started up the steps and heard someone playing guitar with two young ladies singing. When I reached the kitchen at the top of the stairs, there was Vicki Goldston cooking and laughing and immediately welcoming me to her church and to lunch. There was a large pizza, salad, homemade bread, black bean soup, macaroni salad, and various chips and dips, and bowls of almonds and crackers.

 At first there were only seven of us, but as the lunch hour rolled on more people trickled in. Casually. Everything is done casually and peacefully. Seated at one table, the group shares food and thoughts and conversation.

 Goldston, along with daughter Camille Bennett, led the activities at the Living Spirit Church. Goldston, originally from Chicago, has lived in a handful of places including St. Marten and Virginia Beach before finding herself here in Florence. Together the two lead a “Keys to Conscious Living” class Sunday mornings before a more traditional general assembly directly after.

 “When we first started this church, probably around 70 percent of our group was older,” Bennett said. “Now about 70 percent is a younger crowd.” She stresses that they enjoy all attendees both young and old, but she is hoping for more young people to come and get involved.

 The open door lunch is on Thursdays at noon and is open to everyone. Just be ready to hug someone or at least be hugged.