Last Friday, at this year’s Diocesan Convention, Bishop Greg Rickel awarded the prestigious Bishop’s Cross award to our own Josef Hinkofer for his work feeding the hungry and building the feeding ministries of St. Dunstan’s Church. (Josef posted a picture of the certificate and cross on our FaceBook page.) I am grateful to Bishop Rickel for recognizing Josef’s contribution and for honoring him with the Bishop’s Cross. You can read the letter I sent to the Bishop nominating Josef here.
Dear Bishop Greg,
I am writing to nominate Josef Hinkofer for the Bishop’s Cross award. Josef came to me in 2012 with a vision: feeding the people of Tent City 3. He had the imagination to see how our existing resources could be directed toward creating a feeding program, putting to use our newly refurbished kitchen, his skills as a cook, and the food that was going to waste at the Safeway store where he works as a meat cutter. When the feeding program began, we provided food to TC3 every other Tuesday. Since that time the program has grown. First, we went to feeding TC3 every week, then we added a meal at the church, and then we began delivering meals to five other tent encampments. Last week we fed 380 people: 104 at the church and 276 at six different tent encampments, including TC3, TC5, and four smaller camps.
Josef’s unflagging passion for feeding the hungry rises from his own life experience. He knows, personally, what it is like to be hungry and wonder where your next meal will come from. Josef leads this ministry, inspiring people from all walks of life to come and prepare the meals, cook, set up and clean up. On a typical Tuesday the kitchen at St. Dunstan’s Church is one of the most diverse places in all of Shoreline or Seattle and more than half of the team members are not regular members of St. Dunstan’s Church. We truly have a new congregation on Tuesday nights, with over a dozen people in the kitchen and another hundred coming to enjoy the great food.
Josef also serves on the board of Greater Seattle Cares. This organization advocates for homeless people in the Seattle area. They manage the food calendars for several camps, ensuring that churches and organizations deliver food when it is needed, and every week they provide basic supplies like paper towels, plates, cleaning supplies and toilet paper for all the camps to whom we deliver meals. His latest vision is to feed the people living in the “jungle”, a huge, unorganized, unsanctioned homeless encampment under the Interstate 5 Freeway in Seattle.
Josef is a humble man who does not like to be honored in public. He does this work because his heart is formed by his faith. He uses his one day off every week to feed people and he inspires others to share in this important ministry. The feeding ministry has transformed St. Dunstan’s Church and our congregation’s understanding of what it means to follow Christ. Josef has inspired us to see ourselves as the church that feeds people, and in doing so, we are fed.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. David Marshall
On Sunday we honored Josef at the 10:00 AM service. He was, as always, gracious and humble. You might not have seen it from your seat, but his eyes were full of tears. Josef cares deeply about this ministry of feeding the hungry and we are blessed to be sharing in it with him.
Stewardship is about using the gifts we have been given by God to make a positive difference in the world. Josef not only uses his own gifts to feed hungry people, he has helped to create a program that allows all of us to participate. We set up, cook, deliver meals, and even wash dishes as an expression of our gratitude to God. Generosity of living creates abundant live. The more we give of ourselves, the more abundance we experience. Feeding the hungry is truly putting our treasure in heaven. That is the beauty of doing God’s work.