Monday, January 28, 2013

Eating Meetings

"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity." ~Voltaire

At my little church, we often have what we call "eating meetings." The practice of sharing meals seems to strengthen our fellowship, and the food's pretty good too. There's little better than an old-fashioned dinner on the grounds. Of course, things have changed over the years with our dinners. As you can see in the picture above that was taken on the day we celebrated our 200th year as an organized church here at Goshen, the dinners have moved inside. We have tables and chairs and air-conditioning.

It was a lot different in the years past. In the old days, a couple of the farmers in the church would sweep off their farm wagons and pull them up into the church yard. Then the ladies of the church, who cooked everything they could find in their larders, would load the wagon down with all sorts of dishes from fried chicken to chocolate cake. Somewhere at the end of the wagons, would be jugs of sweet iced tea or lemonade. 
(I borrowed the picture from a Mississippi church website http://www.mayfieldchurchofchrist.org/index.php. I didn't think they'd mind. Old fashioned dinners on the grounds look a lot the same at any country church.)
 
I've been to church dinners where the food was out on the wagons, but by the time I started going to Goshen's dinners, they had a basement where they loaded down two homemade tables with their homemade food and then had a whole counter full of desserts. Folks got in line and came down the stairs, filled up their plates and headed outside to eat wherever they could find a spot. Sometimes the local funeral home would come out and set up one of their tents to give a little shade from the sun. We have a concrete wall around the parking area that works fine as a bench for the younger folk to sit and eat. The men would often congregate around the brick and concrete church sign to stand and eat. Then there were the church steps up to the side door that made more seating such as it was. People found a spot and enjoyed eating with their neighbors and friends and church family.

We had an eating meeting at church today. Good food and a fine fellowship hall to enjoy it in. It would have been chilly to eat outside today, but there was something special about going to those dinners on the grounds when they were actually outside on the grounds. 

How about you? Have you ever been to one of those kinds of eating meetings?

Remember if you leave a comment, you're name will be entered for the giveaway on March 1. Three winners will get an autographed copy of Scent of Lilacs. Each time you comment on a different post, you get another entry, but you do need to leave a name or e-mail address. Oh, and tomorrow on the Hollyhill Book of the Strange, Wes is taking a turn reporting. Check it out Monday.


7 comments:

  1. I've been to plenty of church potluck dinners at many different churches. Most of them were held inside. I think perhaps when I was a child, some of us kids took our food outside to eat. I know the church was not air conditioned. Now that I'm older, I'm sure content to eat inside, out of the weather, the Kansas wind, and the bugs!

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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    1. Inside our new K-Hall at our church suits me too, Pam. But eating meetings are fun and always have great food.

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  2. In the church I grew up in we had the farm wagons, and they still do! The church I belong to now has a pavilion,we also erect a tent and bring lots of chairs.We hosted our Association a few years back and the ladies of our church fed over 500 that day.Our church only has about 70 active members give or take. I love those get togethers.
    Thanks for giving me the chance to win another of your wonderful books. Lisa Bragg,

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    1. Wow, Lisa, 500 people. You guys were rattling every pot in your kitchens. But it's been my experience that the smaller churches put out the best dinners and I've been to lots of different church dinners with my husband who has been singing in Southern Gospel quartets for forty years. I'm an expert at church dinners. I always skip the veggies and go right for the delicious fruit salads. LOL.

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  3. Hi Ann, All the potlucks at church I've attended have been held inside. It's said if you are a Baptist you carry a fork in one hand and your Bible in the other! Guess that's a fair assessment for other churches, too. I'm not big on potlucks as I cringe thinking of the hands on the serving utensils falling into the pot of food before I get there! My husband thinks I'm silly. Have a blessed week..Linda

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    1. I like that saying, Linda, and it's certainly true about our little church. Some of our members get put out with so many eating meetings, but I like the fellowship time. That's the southern in me, I guess. Equating good times with eating together. My mother-in-law used to have another "Baptist" saying. If it was raining when we got to church or wherever, she'd not worry about not having an umbrella and simply say, "We're Baptists. We're not afraid of a little water." :)

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  4. Hi Ann, That is good and true! I'll remember that!

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