The Church Potluck Revisited
When I was growing up my family went to a small Protestant church in the country. We had a reverend, an hour-long service (10:00 to 11:00 with nary a variation), hard wooden pews, hymnals, and the requisite Christmas plays. Oh, and we had potluck suppers . . . serious potluck suppers. The kind where paper plates were piled high with all kinds of salads and meats and potatoes. There was always room for at least one dessert, along with glasses of Tang for the kids, and coffee or tea for the grownups. And woven in-between it all was laughter and chatter. As shy as I could be, I did enjoy being a part of the hustle and the bustle of it all.
Now I go to a church in a not-so-small town. It’s a growing non-denominational charismatic church, we have pastors, services that start at 10 and are done when they’re done, chairs, praise and worship songs, and the requisite Christmas plays. And being a bigger group, potlucks are not quite the norm. For one, a person can be chided for calling it a ‘potluck’. Why, I’ve never really been sure. But that’s neither here nor there. My church simply does not have the space at present to host potlucks for the whole congregation, and logistically there’s a lot more to organize. So aside from our yearly church BBQ held in June (a fun and delicious event!), there are now signup sheets for who is bringing salad and who is bringing dessert. We are split up into older and younger groups mainly so we have room to sit. It’s still good, it’s just . . . different.
For instance, people will now say we’re having a ‘potbless’, or, more recently ‘a fellowship meal’. I’m down with that. But here’s the ‘good different’ from the potlucks of my childhood to the ones I’m a part of today – I feel more a part of the body of believers here. I don’t know – maybe it’s just because I’m getting older and (thankfully) less self-absorbed. But there is an increasing sense of community with the people I meet with every Sunday that goes beyond age groups or social brackets. We are a community of believers, big and small, old and young, all being perfectly imperfect together as we do our best to be salt and light in the world around us. And when we get together to break bread (and try to save room for dessert), it adds to the enjoyment of the meal.
I must say, I’m lucky to be so blessed.
*Photo Credit: Tobyotter (Creative Commons)