Miles to speak on 'Breaking Bread with a Broken World'

Emory Report | Oct. 26, 2016

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As a 46-year-old atheist, Sara Miles took communion for the first time, an act she says changed her life, leading her to establish a food pantry, which provides free groceries to hundreds of families each week. Now an acclaimed author, she speaks Nov. 3 to Candler's Annual Women's Forum.

Sara Miles, acclaimed author and founder/director of The Food Pantry of St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, will be the featured speaker at the Annual Women's Forum hosted by Candler School of Theology's Women, Theology and Ministry Program.

Her presentation, "Breaking Bread with a Broken World," will take place Nov. 3 at 7p.m. in Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required by Nov. 1 at 12 p.m. Register here.

As a 46-year-old atheist, Miles wandered into St. Gregory of Nyssa and took communion for the first time, an act that she says changed her life. Her first book, "Take This Bread" (2007), documents her conversion to Christianity and her experience establishing The Food Pantry at the church, which provides several tons of free groceries to hundreds of hungry families each week.

"In a piece of bread, Sara Miles knew Jesus and heard God's call to feed hungry people," says Ellen Shepard, assistant professor in the practice of practical theology and director of the Women, Theology, and Ministry Program. "I'm excited for the Candler community to hear the authentic voice of someone whose life was so radically changed by bread that she responded by radically changing the lives of others with bread."

Candler students are already preparing for Miles' visit. A series of on-campus lunch gatherings in the weeks leading up to the lecture is providing opportunities to read and discuss passages from her work.

Then, on Nov. 4, the day after Miles delivers her lecture, students will partner with local nonprofit Restoration ATL to put on a fall festival for women and children living at the City of Refuge homeless shelter.

Shepard considers this follow-up event equally important to the message Miles will bring. "What better way could there be to respond to Sara's witness and ministry than by becoming connected to the larger community in which we live?" she asks.

Miles is also the author of "Jesus Freak" (2010) and "City of God" (2014), which details the events of Ash Wednesday 2012, when Miles and her colleagues took to the streets of San Francisco's Mission District to administer ashes to those in the neighborhood.

She speaks, preaches and leads workshops around the country, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker and on National Public Radio.