For nearly one hundred years during the season of Lent, Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Memphis has hosted a preaching series featuring diverse and inspiring speakers from places near and far. The series is free and open to the public. Lunch is available downstairs at the Waffle Shop, whose annual opening during Lent is eagerly anticipated by its loyal customers.

We talk with Rev. Eyleen Farmer of Calvary and Rabbi Micah Greenstein of Temple Israel in Memphis, a perennial favorite who has preached in the series for almost 20 years. Rabbi Greenstein tells us how important it is to know people who are different from us, religiously, racially, or culturally. We are transformed when we see the image of God in them. Rev. Farmer explains that the preaching takes place around noon on weekdays and includes the opportunity to have lunch at the Waffle Shop and sample homemade specialties such as tomato aspic, fish pudding, spaghetti, chicken hash, Boston cream pie, and, waffles, of course! Rabbi Greenstein says when people of different generations, faiths, and races come together in pews and at common tables as they do at Calvary for the Lenten Preaching Series and Waffle Shop the atmosphere becomes transformative.

Included are scenes from the Waffle Shop and several of last year’s speakers including: Rabbi Greenstein; Rev. Broderick Greer formerly of Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and currently of Saint John’s Cathedral in Denver and social media fame; Rev. Becca Stevens of Thistle Farms & Community of Magdalene and St. Augustine’s Episcopal Chapel in Nashville; Professor Omid Safi, Director of Duke Islamic Studies in Durham, NC and columnist for On Being; and Kirk Whalum, ordained minister and Grammy Award-winning saxophone player.

We end with Rev. Farmer sharing her hope that our city can become a beloved community, a place of good abode, healing, and welcome for all. We are grateful that the Lenten Preaching Series and Waffle Shop help move us towards that vision.