Memphis, Tn - It is the highlight of the week for many of the men at Riverwood Bible Church in Memphis. Every Friday morning for the past 10 years at 6AM men from the congregation and friends from the community have gathered together in Riverwood's fellowship hall for the weekly Men's Prayer Breakfast. Behind the stove is 70-year-old Henry "Biscuit" Patterson, who prepares a breakfast feast for the men each week.
"I don't do no shoddy breakfast," said Patterson. "We've got eggs, biscuits, bacon, ham, french toast, sausage and of course grits. If there's one thing I don't want anyone saying is that they left hungry."
When the breakfast first began it was meant to be a time of fellowship and prayer with the breakfast time set to go from 6:00-6:30 and the prayer time from 6:30-7:00. But over the years as Patterson's menu expanded attendance increased and the breakfast time started running longer and longer.
"Over the past few months we've been starting the prayer time around 6:50 or thereabouts," said long-time prayer breakfast attendee Pat Horton. "I can't remember the last time we started it before 6:45."
Realizing that something needed to change the deacons of Riverwood met recently to decide what needed to happen concerning the breakfast. During the meeting several proposals were made including changing the schedule back to its original time of thirty minutes for breakfast and thirty minutes for prayer. But a number of deacons objected stating that such a move would be impractical as people were now "used to" the current schedule. The idea was also presented to simply lengthen the overall duration of the fellowship and have prayer from 7:00-7:30, but that idea was rejected as "people have to get to work." In the end the deacons decided that the best course of action was to simply drop the "prayer" part of the fellowship altogether and simply call it a Men's Breakfast.
"Sometimes you've just got to deal with what is rather than what should be" said deacon Prentiss Hall. "So from now it will just be a time of Christian fellowship without having to force a bunch of prayer on people."
Since removing the "prayer" element of the breakfast the church has reported that attendance at the "Men's Breakfast" has skyrocketed.