At St. Andrew’s, we encourage expanding our table by inviting others to a meal. This is precious time to get to know others in a more personal way than we are able to at church or larger events. It deepens relationships, binds our community together, and creates a space of belonging for others. Mari Hanson’s story of her family inviting a neighbor to dinner each month is a touching example of how wonderful these connections can be.
“Since this past summer, my husband and I have committed to monthly dinners with our neighbor, Donald, as a way of expanding our table,” says Mari. “Over the summer, we also made several informal invitations for Donald to attend church with us. He is an 80-year-old man and our son, Bonde’s best friend.”
Every morning and evening upon our departure and arrival back home, Donald opens the front door for our son to hang out with him, often telling me, “you go get settled and come back when you’re ready.” This is a reminder to me that just as much as we were expanding our table for him, he was expanding his for us. One Friday evening as I was picking up Bonde, Donald said, “I’m going to go to church with you this weekend. Your husband just invited me. I’m not going to convert or anything, but I’ll attend with you.”
It was that simple. Time invested in another, an invitation, and God’s timing. Donald joined Mari and her family for church that Sunday, commented on how beautiful the campus was, and enjoyed the playground with Bonde. When asked about his experience, Donald’s eyes welled up with tears as he shared how meaningful it was to hear Brett Hanson sing during worship. “Since that Sunday, Donald has asked about attending church with us again, we have continued monthly dinners, and are enjoying this experience of expanding our table to join in life together with Donald,” says Mari.
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