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The first dinner church service I ever attended was awkward.
I’m outgoing, but I tend to shrink back when I’m in large groups. I worry about what to do with my body, or how much to share about my life or my work. I stumble over words and grow self-conscious about anything I try to say. So when two friends asked me to ride out with them to a church focused on table conversation, I prepared myself for discomfort.
Setting - New - England - Town - Churches
The setting was idyllic -- a small New England town where four churches, a library, and a strip of small businesses were situated around a large green space and a gazebo.
In the parking lot of the church, children tossed a Frisbee while a young, bearded man dressed in red plaid and a black beanie greeted the stream of women and men walking through the door. An older woman carried her casserole dish of mac and cheese. A father arrived with his four ravenous sons. A farmer and his veterinarian wife carried a salad of fresh vegetables.
Friends - Stream - Folks - Church - Basement
My friends and I followed the stream of folks into the church basement and I attempted small talk until Pastor Zach, the bearded man clad in plaid, began strumming his guitar and encouraging us to form a circle around the perimeter of the room. After singing, praying, and sharing bread -- the first half of Communion -- we shuffled through a buffet and settled into seats at a table of strangers.
I gripped my glass of water as the small talk continued, grateful that my body had something to do -- lift, sip, swallow, repeat. While we munched on salad, soup, and mac and cheese, Zach read Scripture and preached a quick sermon, culminating in a series of discussion questions. One in particular is seared in my memory: Do...
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