Our modern society hungers for community. Our novels and films are full of images of isolation and alienation. Adult singles and families often find it hard to maintain connections even when everyone seems to want to do so. Especially when many of us live far away from our extended families, our church communities should be filling some of the functions of extended families but too often our church structures reinforce our culture’s exclusive emphasis on immediate families as our only sources of close relationships. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.
We’ve learned a few things as we go along. Having Peapod deliver the groceries reduces the stress load significantly. Some menu plans are easier than others when cooking for a large group. We’re still figuring out the best ways to incorporate some liturgy beyond just saying grace. The first week we tried to pray Evening Prayer from the Daily Office, but it seemed too long to really work well in this setting. We’re still experimenting with some other possibilities.
Over the summer we are doing this every other Friday night. Once the school year begins again that schedule will be unsustainable but we’ll try to continue once a month.
As Christians we have always cherished sacramental table fellowship around the altar. That is precious and holy, but in a different way there is also something precious and even holy in fellowship around an ordinary dining room table.
Our current culture doesn’t make it easy to create space for each other, but our experience shows that when we do make the effort the results can make that effort worthwhile.
Kristen Filipic has been involved with the Pauline family since 2010 and completed the Cooperator Formation program in 2014. She is a native Midwesterner but has lived in Boston for the last twelve years, where she works as a civil rights attorney. She serves as a lector and a Bible study leader in her home church.