Pass It On Cafe


What do you get when you combine Dinner Church with Messy Church? A Messy Dinner Church. Dr. Pati Graham, a certified lay minister and member at Bryson City UMC attended the training for each of these programs and realized that BCUMC could offer a hybrid of the two. For months Dr. Pati and Rev. Wayne Dickert worked to put together a team of volunteers who would be well trained so that all systems would be a go. Finally, after months of preparation, discussion, and dreaming up of how to do church differently, they launched Pass It On Café. This space is where community meals meet art projects. This dream began when they realized there was a community garden that wasn’t getting much attention. Dr. Pati saw that and knew that it was something their community could really use. Volunteers were recruited and the garden quickly had people to cultivate, plant, harvest, and use the food that was grown each month. The food is used in the monthly meals at Pass it On Café, with the rest of it going into a blessing box for those in the community who need it most. 


The volunteer team that runs Pass It On Café is made up of fifteen adults and six children. Each member of this team was looking for a way they could plug in to the church with their specific gifts. Their volunteers consist of: angel chefs who do the prepping and cooking of the meals; dinner friends who sit at the table and build relationships with those who come to have a meal; then others who bring the food out and help with setting up, tearing down, and cleaning before and after each meal. They received a dinner church grant from the conference to help out but also had a large rummage sale at the church so that they will be ready when they begin to have it in person again. 


Pass It On Café was just getting started when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and they had to rethink what it would look like and how they would function within their community. They wanted to make sure that before doing anything else all of the volunteers were trained on how to continue this ministry in a way that was safe not only for them but also for the people they were serving. Currently they are operating as a drive-in dinner church where cars are coming in and picking up a meal with a message inside of it. They wanted to make sure that the art component of this was not lost so they have also put together kits to send home for the families to do together. They have taken gallon sized bags and filled them with birdhouses, paint, and children’s stories. This way the family unit can work on the bird houses together while also being able to talk about the children's story and scripture as a family as they decorate the bird houses. 


The team behind this has seen discipleship play out in a number of ways. For some of their guests they are in the relationship development stage, wanting to make sure that they know that they bear the image of God and are loved. For others they are having discussions about what a faith walk will look like and how they see God at work in their lives. The Pass It On Café team wants to make sure that they are being intentional about how God is moving in their lives by showing that love to others.

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.