Thanks to the generosity of parishioners — and to our competitive spirit — Christ Church has won The Golden Ladle in the 2021 Chili & Challenge conducted by Bridges to Housing Stability. Competing against at least a dozen other Howard County congregations to raise funds for Bridges, we contributed $2,535 toward programs to help individuals and families who are at-risk or experiencing homelessness.
Parishioners participated by donating directly and by purchasing meal tickets for chili made by the Bare Bones restaurant; each $20 meal resulted in a $12 donation to Bridges. The nonprofit organization surpassed its goal of $12,000 by raising nearly twice that amount. Its leaders thanked competitors and the businesses and organizations who sponsored the event during the Chili & Challenge meal pickup and awards ceremony held on October 10th.
The Rev. Emmanuel “Manny” Mercer accepted the Golden Ladle from Bridges Executive Director Jen Broderick. Two churches who were runners-up won a Silver Ladle award (as Christ Church did in 2020). The second-place winner was First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, represented by Woody Collins, and Glen Mar United Methodist Church in Ellicott City, represented by Heerak Kim.
In thanking Bridges for its work on affordable housing, Father Manny gave a shout-out to Christ Church parishioners for supporting this vital cause. He also brought up future plans for Christ Church to co-sponsor an Afghan refugee family and said he is “deeply grateful” for the congregation’s generosity.
The ceremony was livestreamed and archived on Bridges’ YouTube channel. Go to this link to watch the recording. (The awards presentation begins at 8:02 minutes in the video) In her remarks, Jen Broderick describes how Bridges -- and you -- have helped a formerly homeless student who has successfully entered his senior year in Howard County schools.
Christ Church has had a warm relationship with Bridges since 2019 when we participated in its countywide chili cook-off, Holier Than Thou. Parishioner James Collins, a Bridges board member, was that event’s master of ceremonies. The Outreach Commission keeps our parish informed about Bridges’ efforts and its members organize parish-wide involvement such as these annual chili competitions.