A Better City, Better Fed: Broad Street Ministry
“Radical hospitality” is Bill Golderer’s motto. As the founding pastor of Broad Street Ministry, he uses the phrase to describe the church’s community outreach. Located in the cathedral space of the Chambers-Wylie Memorial Presbyterian Church, across from the Kimmel Center, Broad Street Ministry hosts Sunday services—but during the rest of the week the organization provides many other vital community services, including meals.
These free suppers have little in common with the usual soup kitchen. Broad Street Ministry serves respect and dignity to those who eat there, along with a square meal. “Ours is a vision for what community should be, a blurring of the lines between those who have everything and those who don’t,” says Golderer.
Broad Street Ministry began with a single meal each week, and it’s steadily added more. Now serving five meals weekly, the nonprofit served 6,000 guests in 2014. Though there are many other agencies serving meals in Philadelphia, Broad Street is special.
Guests to Broad Street are greeted by a maitre d’ and then seated at cloth-covered tables that are set, served and bused by a brigade of volunteers, many of them veterans of the hospitality industry. The food is prepared by chef Steven Seibel (photo on page 15), who came to Broad Street following a stint as the chef for Comcast’s corporate offices. Those who eat here have an experience that is much more restaurant than soup kitchen.
Broad Street Ministry operates the way it does because Golderer believes that the dining table is one of the best places to begin dismantling the disparity between the haves and the have-nots. He and the rest of the team at Broad Street Ministry believe that the pleasures of the table, the respect shown by gracious service and true hospitality, should be available not just to those who can afford restaurants, but to everyone.
315 S. Broad St., 215.735.4847