#1 A Spring Family Fling!
By October, spring will well and truly be underway. The days will be longer and warmer and it will be perfect weather to host an old fashioned picnic complete with outdoor games and prizes the whole family can enjoy. Revisit some of the favourites we used to play at our church picnics – 3 legged and sack races, a nature scavenger hunt, donut and watermelon eating competitions, making & flying kites. People can bring their own food or you can decide to provide a course, say desserts, that everyone can enjoy.
#2 An Ode to the Oktoberfest
Invite your friends and acquaintances to a German inspired lunch as tribute to our Lutheran heritage. Go as simple or as inspired as you like. Serve platters of sausage, dill cucumbers, cheese, rye bread, breadsticks, ham, mustard, potato salad and of course sauerkraut. Or simply do kransky sausages, cooked on the barbie and served in rolls with sauce and sauerkraut. Pair it with Blackforest Cake, Apple Strudels or Kuchen for dessert. An ale or two would definitely be in order. Feel free to don the lederhosen and slap and clap to your heart’s content!
#3 An International Food Affair
Celebrate the diversity of cultures and cuisines in your congregation or community by providing an internationally themed food affair. Choose whatever culture is most relevant for your congregation, involve your international members/friends in selecting dishes to make that are simple to prepare and easy to share. Put large platters on the table and enjoy the sense of community as you serve one another and celebrate the flavour sensations.
#4 A Finger Food Feast
It’s important to include children in our celebratory and commemorative events, so why not make this lunch all about them! Cover the tables with butchers paper and provide pencils for decorating. Serve food you can only eat with your fingers and make it all pint-sized – Mini hot dogs, mini pizzas, mini burgers, mini quiches, mini anything! Make mini cheesecakes, muffins or have mini icecream cones for dessert and organise some after lunch activities the children will love – a treasure hunt, dress up relay race, water balloon toss etc etc. A great way to include families and let children know they are valued and cherished.
#5 Making a little lunch last longer….
Plan a series of days during October when members of your church community come together to create meals for families in your local community. Prepare 3 course meals (soup, main, dessert) that can be provided to people who may be experiencing difficult or busy times (illness, moving house, new baby, sick child) or to someone who just needs a special blessing. You will enjoy the time you spend making food together almost as much as being able to provide meals to someone who needs to experience Jesus’ love first hand. Accompany your meals with a personal card or note.
#6 A Bonfire Bakeout
Nothing beats the thrill and excitement of a big bonfire but you can’t usually have one of these in your backyard! So if you have someone who is willing to share their property, postpone the party to late in the afternoon, start gathering your burnable materials and plan a menu you can cook on the fire – pot luck stew with damper on sticks or potatoes cooked in foil. Bring biscuits, chocolate and marshmallows and you can finish with American s’mores – a perfect end to a perfect party!
#7 A Neighborhood nosh-up
Invite your church neighbours to join you in holding a neighborhood garage or car boot sale. Everyone can sell their unwanted treasures and you can provide a lunch for buyers and sellers. A bbq burger lunch with cupcakes would be perfect and simple. Pick a street in your neighbourhood or use the church carpark and see if your longest Lutheran lunch can be combined with gargantuan garage gaiety.
#8 Paying it forward
Providing random acts of kindness and generosity actively demonstrates Jesus’ love in action. So why not rearrange your Longest Lutheran Lunch celebration, join forces with your Catholic friends, and target a local school to provide a long morning tea table or long sausage sizzle lunch table the whole school community can enjoy.
#9 Starting a congregational tradition!
Traditions are opportunities to acknowledge things that are important to us that we can pass on through the generations. Why not think about making a Longest Lutheran Lunch part of your church’s traditions, something you do every year to celebrate community, connections and most importantly God’s abundant grace. Peace Church in Salem, SA began a tradition over 40 years ago with a sit-down dinner of soup, cold meat, salads and apple crumble. This tradition has continued ever since. Even the menu has remained the same!
#10 The littlest Longest Lutheran Lunch
If your congregation hasn’t been able to organise a macro scale event, don’t let it be an excuse not to do anything. Make October 29 an opportunity to invite another family or families you don’t know well, home for lunch and create your own micro Longest Lutheran Lunch event. You can still linger over a long lunch, share genuine hospitality and build lasting connections with people in your community. And remember: it’s not about your house or your food or even you at all. It’s about who you’re with and how God can use you to bless others.