General Worship, Leading Worship
Dinner Church or Meal Church?
January 8, 2019
7 comments 332 views
Our church is thinking of starting a once monthly service where we eat a meal together, including communion, and also have our worship service.
I've read quite a bit of stuff from web searches but am wondering if anyone on The Network is also doing this kind of thing.
If so, I'd love to hear the details. How did you get started? How do you conduct the meal and service? What has your experience been? Has this been accepted by your congregation? Anything else we should know as we are planning? Etc., etc.
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I attend the First CRC in Montreal, and we have Communion in our last Sunday of the month service, and we have the monthly Pot-luck lunch AFTER the Service. We started doing that when our former pastor was here. In fact, it was relatively soon after he came here with his family. I don't remember exactly how it came about because It's been awhile, and I wasn't on the Worship Committee at the time, but it seems that the proposal was submitted to the congregation for a vote--probably because it needed the support of the majority for it to work. What we do is we have our service with the Lord's Supper and after the service is over people go downstairs to the Fellowship Hall where we have coffee and socialize while the dishes are being heated. And when everything is ready, then we pray for grace over the meal and people line up to help themselves to the food. It is served buffet-style on a long table, and people go around the table to take what they want and go sit at another table to eat and chat with those around them.
Our small Baptist church serves Holy Communion the first Sunday of every month followed by a dish-to-pass buffet. Several years ago, our pastor implemented this as a casual-dress/jeans Sunday with worship in the gym of our attached Christian school. We music worship leaders chose only contemporary praise songs, and we were all encouraged to invite friends from among the community who might feel more at ease in this relaxed atmosphere. It has gone very well with great attendance, but the acoustics were poor and our sound system gave out, sending us back to the Church Sanctuary for worship and Communion within the past year, but the dish-to-pass lunch is still enjoyed in the gym afterward.
This was just posted this week - check out this new approach to dinner and church. https://www.crcna.org/news-and-views/getting-know-your-neighbors
I have done this; but only during Lent . . . and the congregation was Presbyterian. We did it on Shrove Tuesday (Pancakes!) and then on Maundy Thursday.
The meal wold be prepared; but served buffet style. We began with a welcome and short but relevant scripture, oft paraphrased or pout in a story form, then the bread ws blessed, using the Jewish blessing over bread, broke the bread and passed it. A thanks to God was followed by the meal itself. After everyone had eaten we had a short devotional/meditation followed by the blessing of the cup--Jewish blessing again, and then the benediction.
Shrove Tuesdays were always preceded by an explanation of the origin and meaning. This was done during Lord's Day worship preceding. We tried to stick to the meaning of the day. Maundy Thursday we tried--sometimes more successfully than others, to guide table conversation around themes of fellowship, love, caring, personal commitment and sacrifice, and the like.
I have personally come to believing that the Jews and the Salvation Army have a better understanding of what we refer to as communion or the Lord's Supper than we do. By this I mean that ever meal has a "sacramental" quality to it, though we may give a special recognition via liturgy to Passover or the drastically paired down meal that we refer to as Communion/Lord's Supper.
I might add that when we started the Maundy Thursday meal, it was a Chinese buffet! :) Then we moved to alternating Chinese with a variety of other foods.
Thank you. I appreciate the details. Good ideas.
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