Monday, October 22, 2007

Sweet Fellowship

Last weekend was my church's annual Candy Making event for our upcoming Harvest Festival. We gathered in the afternoon in the home of one of our lay folks, and spent the better part of the day making delicious hard candy to sell at the Harvest Festival. This was my second time, and it was heaps of fun. We made a myriad of different flavors, ranging from blueberry cheesecake to peppermint to licorice. About 26 of us came to participate and all ages were represented, from the young kids to those who are still kids at heart. We broke in the evening for a "light" supper (where we all definitely ate our fill...probably so we wouldn't eat the candy), and ended making candy around 8:30 in the evening. It was a true time of fellowship and conversation and work...and enjoying the muted Patriot's game in the background where they trounced the Dallas Cowboys. Good food, good fellowship, and good fun.

Something transformational happens when you get a group of church people out of the church setting. Everyone is more relaxed, has time to engage in deeper conversations with one another - it's like coffee hour squared. Seeing people outside of church somehow puts them in a more natural light. I think from time to time we don't bring our whole selves to church, both the good and the bad, and being together in a different setting helps flesh people out. They become more real, more than just the reflection seen on Sunday morning. Authentic sharing happens because there is more time to talk and be with one another than the quick 5-minute life update during coffee hour or the raising of an answered prayer during joys and concerns. Relationships can truly deepen during these times apart from church because there is the time and the space for fellowship.

I believe I experienced authentic fellowship during our candy making event. And it was truly sweet - and not just because of the candy. ;-) We were all happy to be together, happy to burn our fingers a bit, and happy to help out our church as we made candy to sell at the Harvest Festival. I hope that wherever I end up serving, there will be moments like this in the life of the congregation where true community and fellowship can be experienced.


Wyldth1ng said...

Sounds fun and tasty.

Fellowship with candy, who knew it would be a hit? (JK)

I is always fun when the Cowboys lose.

Lorna said...

what a wonderful fellowship :)

Meredith said...

Melissa, your post made me homesick! My church had their harvest bazaar today, and one woman brought similar candy to sell. I sampled a piece and remembered being in that kitchen and making that candy. (And I remember a certain man yelling out "Jesus Christ!" when the Giants or Jets or whoever made a bad play, which made the rest of us a little uncomfortable!)

You are so right--the best fellowship happens in homes. Inviting others into your home, and being in someone else's home, invovles vulnerability and acceptance. I think about the early church, when the church met in homes. It probably allowed a more authentic community to form. Now, we've got enormously expensive buildings where we're all expected to be on our best behavior.

Every time I think of something I'd like to start in church, I picture us meeting in our fellowship hall, and I just can't see it working. Then I picture us meeting in someone's living room, and it all falls into place.

Thanks for your post!