St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Women publicity director Bridget Pieschel remembers when she first joined the Columbus church about 40 years ago.
As a young wife and mother of young children, she was given a job as a worker of the May Lunch under the watchful eye of one of the older congrats.
“Everybody is involved,” she said. “You apprenticed for years in one role of the luncheon. Then eventually you’d be in charge of that team.”
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church May Lunch, which has been held for over 150 years, continues that tradition May 10.
This year’s event will be strictly take-out, according to St. Paul’s Senior Warden Marian Hazard.
All food will be served out of the church’s 4th Street South entrance.
The College Street entrance will be where people can satisfy their sweet tooth by entering the Bake Sale, held in memory of Betty West Land. The churchgoer, who died in 2020, was known for making her cheese straws for the event.
Besides chicken salad and barbecue plates, the church will sell whole Boston Butts for $30. The T&T Memorial BBQ is prepared by Bubba Wolford, in memory of his father, Tom Wolford, and his dear friend, Todd Gale, who helped Tom prepare barbecue for the annual meal. Gale, who died in 2021, was the former general manager of Columbus Light and Water Department.
“Tom’s father cooked our barbecue for 30 years,” Pieschel said. “For some of us, staying up all night to help with the barbecue is part of our church’s tradition.”
Last year, the church used 30 Boston Butts for its pulled pork dishes and 30 more for individual sales, Hazard said.
For the church, the May Lunch is something in which everyone participates.
“We’re a relatively small parish, and people expect to be asked to help out,” Hazard said. “Sometimes we’ll get new members who we may have overlooked come up to us and ask for an assignment. It’s refreshing to be able to have everyone all work together in one space.”
Preparing May Lunch has its own rituals. Committees watch over almost every aspect of the lunch — a committee that oversees how each ingredient is prepared. An assembly committee puts all the ingredients together in the finished chicken salad.
A total of 786 deviled eggs are prepared the same way as they were down through the decades. The rituals tie together the generations of Episcopal Church Women and other congregants who conducted the luncheon.
Besides being about sharing the experience, the May Lunch is also about its purpose.
“This is an outreach for us. We want to make our presence known in the community,” Pieschel said of the church. “It is also a chance for us to give to local charities that need our support.”
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church May Lunch
■ When: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 10
■ Take-out lunch: Chicken salad or barbecue plate for $12, cash or check, take-out only. Pick up at the 4th Street South entrance. Orders must be placed by noon Monday and can be made by calling 662-328-6673 or emailing [email protected] . When emailing, include name, time of pick up, number of plates and a contact phone number. The maximum number of plates in one order is 25.
■ T&T Memorial Barbecue: Orders for whole Boston Butts may be made in addition to plate lunches or ordered on their own. Cost is $30 each, cash or check only. Orders must be placed by Friday and can be made by calling 662-328-6673 or emailing [email protected] . Pick up at the 4th Street South entrance.
■ Bake Sale: Sweet and savory goods will be available. Sale opens at 11 a.m. Payments of cash or check only.