By Lauryn Francisco
If you have been involved with Act Five in any way, shape or form over the past year, chances are you’ve been invited to Spaghetti Wednesday.
The students, staff, and tenants here at 75 Blake St have echoed the invitation over and over again, more times than I could count. Friends, family members, classmates, neighbours, and Act Five alumni have all been invited and happily attended. And so have others: people we’ve encountered in coffee shops or bus stops, people we’ve met on Deedz or at community events, friends of friends of friends. The list goes on.
But our invitations, though graciously received, are usually also met with tilted heads and furrowed brows: What is that? What does that mean?
Spaghetti Wednesday, on the surface, is exactly what it sounds like. Every week, on Wednesday, the residents of 75 Blake St host a community meal—usually spaghetti, but not always!—for any and all who want to join. But in practice, it is and has become something more. Something deeply meaningful.
Since September of 2021, I have been a tenant in the Act Five house, and I have loved simply doing life alongside the students and staff. The other tenants and I have been invited to join meals, participate in program events, and even attend some retreats. We have gone on walks, hikes, and Willard’s runs together. We have played games and watched movies, had snowball fights and dance parties, talked late into the night on the kitchen floor. We have laughed and we have cried alongside all the other members of this home. We are not students, and we are not staff, but we are still every bit a part of this community.
Community is integral to Act Five, both as a program and as a home. Everything about the way we try to live in this house professes it. I’m learning that when it comes to Act Five, it is impossible to participate independently. It is impossible to be an outside observer. The moment you step through the doors of 75 Blake St, you become part of something larger than yourself. A community. A home.
Spaghetti Wednesday, then, is a way for us to extend that community beyond ourselves. It’s a way for us to practice hospitality and generosity, to welcome people—often strangers to most of us—into our home. To open our arms, our doors, and our table to others. Anyone and everyone. As we have been welcomed, as we have been loved, Spaghetti Wednesday allows us to do the same.
When the students and resident leaders are away on trips, it’s up to us—the tenants—to manage Spaghetti Wednesday. This means that I have been present for nearly every Spaghetti Wednesday that occurred during the 2021-2022 Act Five year.
Over this time, I’ve seen a vast multitude of Wednesday meals. Glorious, sunny days at the picnic tables in the backyard. Rainy evenings with all the housemates and guests crammed shoulder-to-shoulder into our main floor living room. I’ve seen over fifty people share a spaghetti meal together at this home. I’ve seen meals with less than ten. But in all my time since I moved into the Act Five house, I have never experienced a Spaghetti Wednesday without at least one guest.
Jesus extended love by sharing meals with others, eating with those who were shunned or cast out. And by doing so, he elevated them. He honoured them and showed them respect. He treated them as friends. Through Spaghetti Wednesday, we seek to honour others. To respect them. To extend the love of Christ to all. What better way to do so than by breaking bread—garlic bread perhaps—together?
The spirit of Spaghetti Wednesday, I think, is captured perfectly by its founder, Jill Weber. One of Act Five’s favourite songs has been a song she wrote called “Even the Sparrow”. Each time we sing these lyrics as a house, we are reminded how necessary community is to participate in God’s Kingdom. We are reminded that gathering around the table is a holy act. In singing these words together, we echo the meaning of Spaghetti Wednesday:
Table is set
I will sit down
Surrounded by friends
If you’re reading this, consider yourself invited to a Wednesday dinner!
Will you consider donating to Spaghetti Wednesday? We are always accepting donations of spaghetti supplies and rely on the support of our wider community to make these meals happen! Spaghetti noodles (both gluten-free and not), crushed tomatoes, vegetables, and bread are always welcome. To give supplies, contact email@example.com.
Furthermore, Act Five is becoming an independent organization and would love for you to consider becoming a financial supporter, whether through a one-time gift or monthly gift. To do so: