The Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields is an Episcopal parish in the Diocese of Pennsylvania that is centered on the worship of God, the ministry of all baptized persons, and the call to be agents of Christ’s love in the world.
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Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
8000 St. Martin’s Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19118

The Rev. W. Jarrett Kerbel

St. Martin's Cloak

The Cloak is a collection of audio vignettes—stories that reveal parishioners’ faith journeys. Share your thoughts by sending us an e-mail.

[The kitchen is] the one place that speaks family, speaks community for me.

Hyacinth Wood

St. Martin’s’ parishioners are lining up outside the kitchen to taste Hyacinth Wood’s homemade bread pudding. In this interview, Hyacinth talks about the role she thinks food plays in creating a sense of community as she slices cinnamon-raisin bagels and stale bread into a metal bowl.

It’s a very simple recipe. It’s back to basics. It’s bread, old bread preferably, a little bit of butter, a little bit of sugar and fruit, if you have it. In this case I’m using pineapple because I don’t have to use as much sugar with pineapple because it has its own sweetener, and I like fruit.

The kitchen is definitely the heart of most places and it’s the one place where there are no barriers. Anyone can talk about anything here. And food is one thing – as long as I’m eating something I’m willing to share. At least I find as long as I’m eating something, I’m willing to share. People tend to be a whole lot more open and welcoming that way. They’re not only thinking about the nourishment for their body by eating, but they’re also thinking about the nourishment of their community by eating together.

The last time we made bread pudding in this kitchen some of the people who came here I’d never even met. And I’ve been coming to this church for, what, 13 years? And I didn’t even know them. But they came in, they ate bread pudding, they were happy, and then they went home. And I thought – great! I met somebody new today. And that’s wonderful. That’s what St. Martin’s is supposed to be about. Because if we can’t be welcoming to each other, we can’t be welcoming to the community.  And we really want to be that.

I’ve had most of my in-depth conversations with my daughters in the kitchen. I’ve had most of my conversations with my girlfriends in the kitchen. I’ve had most of my arguments in the kitchen. (laughs) So, you know. It’s the one place that speaks family, it speaks community for me. Because we’re all part of it in that one place – it’s that one place—I guarantee – if I start cooking, everybody will find themselves in the kitchen because they want to know what’s going on.