My uni days seem to be drifting further away, but one fond memory that sticks with me is the secret pancake club. Scoffing my face with that sweet blend of milk, eggs and flour taught me more about community than I ever thought it would. It’s already obvious I love pancakes from the most recent YouTube video, but there was something special about these ones…
The best crêped secret
I can’t quite remember how I found out about Pancake Wednesdays. Perhaps it was a hushed whisper between friends or an overheard conversation in the union bar. But once I was in, there was no turning back. Once a week, we’d squeeze into a kitchen in the centre of campus and have breakfast together. We’d laugh and eat away our 9am lecture blues with pancakes. Each week more people would come, as word of mouth spread and the community kept growing.
With no cost, apart from a give-what-you-like donation pot, Pancake Wednesdays were the best way to start the day. You’d be welcomed in, meet some new friends and be fed as much as you need. It didn’t matter who you were or where you were from, everyone was welcome. And I can’t help but think that’s a picture of what the kingdom should be like. Throughout the Gospels you’ll find Jesus eating with friends, followers and complete strangers. How often do we go out of our way to create spaces where new communities grow and to meet the needs of others with nothing expected in return?
Power in the people
It wasn’t till I attended a couple Pancake Wednesdays that I read the note on the donation pot. I had always just assumed that any money they got was used to cover ingredients and the extra was pocketed by students in the flat. But I was wrong. Any money made from our weekly gatherings was going straight to charity. A simple, yet effective way to way to work towards a good cause. And as I said, with more people coming every week, that meant more money raised for the charity of choice. It made being generous easy, accessible and normal. I love fundraising challenges and recommend everyone try their hand at one, but there’s also something to be said about making generosity a part of your everyday rhythm of life. Such communities create the opportunity for generosity.
With an ever-expanding community of generous pancake eaters, the hosts decided to hold a pancake day special. People all across campus were invited to the kitchen for a night of laughs, live music and of course, pancakes. Entry on the door was cheap and there were plenty of opportunities to donate, as you squeezed through the kitchen to dip your pancake in the chocolate fountain. I didn’t realise that night, there was a representative from the charity all these donations were going to. Part way through the night, he was welcomed up to say a few words. It was incredible to see just how touched he and the whole charity were by the entire thing.
Does it get much batter?
What started out as a quick way to grab some breakfast before a lecture, grew into a community of small change makers. And it never felt forced or contrived. Instead, everyone in that room was given the opportunity to be generous and it worked seamlessly. I don’t know if the tradition of Pancake Wednesdays was passed down after I left uni, but I can only hope that the spirit of community still lives on. Who knows – maybe this will inspire you to start your own secret pancake club.
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