Be Present At Our Table, Lord: Breaking bread together
United Methodists love to eat! So many of our church memories are connected to food: potluck dinners, Sunday school picnics, coffee and cookies after worship... Food can be a part of your heritage celebration, too.
A Smorgasbord of Ideas
A churchwide banquet with a special speaker (such as your bishop or a noted local historian) is a splendid way to begin a year-long anniversary celebration.
A year-end banquet. You can remind everyone of the year's events with slides and videos, photos and memorabilia.
Honor special people in the church with a dinner or tea. Such persons may be long-time members, honorees in your Hall of Fame, or former pastors and spouses.
Plan a reunion dinner for former and current members of the youth group, the choir, or certain Sunday school classes. This may involve tracking down some people who live out of town. Invite everyone to bring photos; perhaps you can capture some memories on tape during the evening.
"History and hors d'oeuvres": in an informal setting at the church or in a home, offer a talk on the history of your church, accompanied by light refreshments.
Hold a progressive dinner. Some choices for locations would include people's homes, various rooms in the church, or several churches in your community. The cooks may be individuals, or each course can be hosted by a different group (the youth, United Methodist Men, the Board of Trustees). The menu can reflect different eras of the church's history.
Plan an historically accurate dinner. There are numerous cookbooks available that feature authentic recipes from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. With each course can come tidbits of church history in word or song.
Revive traditions or start new ones. Did your church ever hold annual Sunday school picnics, sleighrides followed by marshmallow roasts, ice cream socials, or ladies' teas? Perhaps you would rather launch a new tradition, like a twice-yearly pizza party/movie night or an annual beach party.
Reach Out in Love
As you plan food-related events, don't forget those who do not have enough to eat. Consider anniversary or heritage projects that will:
Stock the community food pantry for one year.
Raise money for African famine relief. (How about feeding 100 people for 100 months in celebration of your 100th anniversary?)
Take members of your church to the homeless shelter to serve meals.
Support the Heifer Project or a hunger program in your community.