STEUBENVILLE - Brenda Fetty sat quietly Thursday at Urban Mission Ministries' Unity Kitchen, watching as Angie Brown washed her feet and bowing her head as the Rev. Toni Hubbard offered a prayer.
It was a scene played over and over again as area residents came to the mission on Maundy Thursday for its second-annual, four-hour "Soul to Sole" foot-washing service.
Brown, administrative director, and Hubbard, former Unity Kitchen director, were among two of many mission volunteers who demonstrated servanthood through the simple act, just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper the day before his crucifixion on the cross.
FOOT WASHING — Brenda Fetty of Steubenville watched as Angie Brown, administrative director with Urban Mission Ministries of Steubenville, washed her feet during the mission’s second-annual “Soul to Sole” foot-washing service on Maundy Thursday. The event included communion, a meal featuring foods from Biblical times and the distribution of toiletry items and tennis shoes. — Janice R. Kiaski
Fetty was touched by the gesture and glad that she'd come.
"I got a flyer about it yesterday and thought I'd like to check it out," said Fetty, a first-timer to the event that included communion, a meal of Biblical-time foods and the distribution of some tennis shoes and donated toiletry items packaged by volunteers from Brooke Hills Free Methodist Church in Wellsburg.
"I have just been so blessed, and this is such a nice blessing," Fetty said. "Who knows - maybe next year I'll be the one sitting in there washing people's feet and praying for them."
"Last year we washed about 55 people's feet, so we're right on track to doing that again, and we added some more toiletries this year, shoes and socks in trying to make it special," explained the Rev. Ashley Steele, the mission's executive director.
"When we first started at 10, we gathered everybody for communion, and I explained a little bit about the Last Supper, the foot washing and why we're doing this," Steele said.
"The main goal is just to show and share that we wanted to serve the community, and this foot washing is one option with that, so we opened it up to a lot of community members if they can come and just be a part of this day," Steele said.
Linda Smith, mission program director, was busy in the kitchen where she explained the variety of Biblical-oriented foods she researched for the noon meal to be served.
Smith said the whole meal was kosher and prepared in mind with the food that would have been eaten when Jesus was with his disciples.
The menu included unleavened bread; Passover chicken and barbecued beef; roasted root vegetables; kugle, which is made with egg noodles; and a variety of desserts, including Egyptian cookies, made with sugar, dry cream of wheat and plain yogurt.
"Soul to Sole" was part of the mission's "Campaign for Good, Spreading Goodness" that began in March and continues through the end of April.
The campaign overall is an opportunity for area residents to help the hungry, extend kindness and "spread goodness," including through monetary donations made through April 30 and marked "for hunger" or "Feinstein." Those donations are eligible to be proportionately matched through the annual Feinstein Foundation hunger campaign in which the mission has been a longtime participant.
Individuals, churches, organizations and businesses also are invited to host a "for good" event or fundraiser through the end of April that could include, for example, a canned food drive or an event that would raise funds for a mission program of the organizer's choice.
Another campaign option is providing a gift of $20 or more for a "random act of kindness" goodie box to be presented to a public servant or a complete stranger. Participants can choose from a category such as a veteran, teacher, waiter, mail carrier, cashier, elected official or pastor.