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Pequot Lakes: Faith, food, fellowship offered Fridays to students

Juniors and seniors from Pequot Lakes High School enjoy lunch at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church Friday, Nov. 10. Gloria Dei and other area churches participate in a Chat and Chow program where students can each lunch and learn about God. Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal1 / 2
Pastor Frank Milo, of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes, shares a faith-filled message with high school students during the church’s weekly Chat and Chow Friday, Nov. 10. Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal 2 / 2

For the last five years, juniors and seniors at Pequot Lakes High School have flocked to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church for food and fellowship on Fridays.

Chat and Chow, as the program is called, provides students with a homemade lunch prepared by one of the participating churches and leaves them with a faith-filled message. The idea came from former Pequot Lakes High School principal Chip Rankin, who worked with a similar program while living in Mora.

"Chip (Rankin) felt that it was worth doing just to have values and talk about God and to help the kids," said Frank Milo, pastor at Gloria Dei.

Though the meal takes place at Gloria Dei each week, five area churches take turns preparing the lunch. The other participants are St. Alice Catholic Church, Pequot Lakes Baptist, Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa and Living Savior Lutheran in Lake Shore.

Students who attend every week, like Adelaide Hubbard and Alexis Lueck, said they like the fun atmosphere, having an alternative to school lunch and learning a little about Jesus.

"But we don't shove it down their throat," Milo said of the faith-based component. "We just present a message, and we let it lay."

Students who are able contribute a freewill offering of a few dollars, but payment isn't necessary.

"If the kids don't have any money, we don't care," Milo said.

Chat and Chow takes place from noon to 12:30 p.m. each Friday and is open to juniors and seniors who can leave campus for lunch. On the Friday before winter break, all five churches come together to make a special holiday meal for the students, which includes turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and other holiday favorites.