Veritas is planning on having our first “Love Feast” (I really don’t like the name….seems like a throwback to the Sixties, or honestly the name of a 70’s Porn Movie) on Sunday October 11. As I began to plan the gathering I sent out a preliminary gathering plan to our Core Group for feedback and their thoughts. This has turned into an e-mail conversation focusing around the feetwashing part of the gathering. I thought I would post some of the thoughts of the Core Group, and get your feedback. What do you do with Feetwashing? Do you do it, do you offer another way of serving each other (handwashing), do you find a modern equivalent, do you forgo the feetwashing altogether? Would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Here are the comments from my Core Group:

Do we have to wash feet/get our feet washed? I get the whole Jesus got dirty in connecting with us and we need to be ready and willing to get dirty too- and I def think I do that with people (in the mental/emotional/spiritual sense); but is there any alternative for people who don’t want to do that?

am I just being weird over nothing? Totally not trying to be a party pooper….

To all,

Carmella brought up the same concerns I struggled with about this tradition. Below is my experience

I have been involved in the brethren faith for 5 years and until about a year ago never even considered going the twice annual service where foot washing is performed.

A) I was grossed out
B) I was embarrassed
C) I was cool with washing someone elses feet but didn’t want anyone to do mine.

A. It wasn’t anything gross. A basin is filled with a very mild bleach water solution. The washee placed his feet into or on the edge of the basin and you cupped your hands and poured water over the feet. you then took a towel and dried them.
B. While I was nervous my feet would somehow ruin the entire event my foot washing went just like everyone else. No one singled my tootsies out for ridicule 🙂
C. Willingness to humble myself but refuse to let someone humble themselves before me defeats to whole point of the tradition.

It’s funny I remember the last hour or two before the service being really freaked out and now I’m just meh.

The service was moving and I understand why it is a tradition is some denominations. It will never be my “favorite” service but I hope everyone will try it once and then we as a community can discuss it further. I do believe that in experiencing it you will find something of significant worth.



I grew up in a church that regularly did feetwashing and i still don’t like it. Frankly, I have trouble seeing the point. Jesus showed hospitality by caring for his guests who had traveled to be with him. It was especially shocking that a rabbi would do something normally done by a servant. So do we do exactly as Jesus did even though we live in a different culture? Or do we show hospitality in a way that people would be shocked at our humility?
And regarding hospitality, I think we need to turn around our definition to truly understand the concept. In many cultures, hospitality means that you recognize your visitor as someone sent from God with a message or gift for you and you are blessed to have that person visit you. How would we treat people that God sends to us? Would you tell them to take off their shoes so you can wash their feet if that is uncomfortable for them?
I do love the Love Feast idea and if we do the feetwashing thing I’ll do it while gritting my teeth.


Just to throw out a different point of view… For me, the footwashing service has always been the most meaningful service. I don’t think it’s as much about hospitality as service. It’s about humbling myself to someone else in the same way that Christ did, as well as allowing someone else to serve me, which in our culture I think is the harder part. I’m not sure there is a modern day equivalent. It certainly isn’t about forcing someone to do something that is uncomfortable for them, and I would assume that anyone that wouldn’t want to do it could just “pass”.


I grew up with this practice and so I can understand how some people would find it meaningful. I might even find it meaningful if I were with others from my same church tradition and who I knew were comfortable with the practice.

But when I think about some of my neighbors or friends coming and being confronted with this practice, I can almost imagine their aversion to it.
And this makes me uncomfortable. If we do foot washing together but fail to communicate the message of servanthood/hospitality what is the point?
Are we then just serving ourselves? Would those who find this a new
practice really understand what we are trying to do? If we really want
to show service and hosipitality to others and one another, how do we best
communicate that to our current culture? Foot washing was as common and
normal to those of Jesus’ day as going out for coffee is for us. We don’t have servants so much these days so it makes it hard for us to understand and feel the impact of what Jesus really did. I think it’s important for us to find a way in our current culture to show each other love and service in a way that’s completely understood and impacts people.



So as you can see we have a very thoughtful team and one that is concerned about the “other” and those who aren’t yet Christ followers. They are aware of contextualization and understanding culture. They have great insight. I don’t want to do something just because that is what we do, or because we are Brethren. What are your suggestions regarding Feetwashing? Any and all thoughts would be helpful.

Ryan Braught