What I Learned from Funeral Dinners.

The first church my husband worked at was a very small country church. I often chaffed at their way of life and very conservative views. As the youth pastor’s wife I was expected to join the women’s committee which mostly planned baby showers and pot lucks. I was by far the youngest person there and it felt so trite. But, I learned something from these women about community something that took root in me. They met together partly because of tradition but mostly because of love for each other and their small town. If they didn’t plan the baby showers and pot lucks who would? To them these small life moments were important.

Fast forward several (I won’t tell you how many) years and we’re part of a slightly bigger church in a slightly bigger community. But there are still women who get together to plan baby showers and pot lucks because celebrating those life moments are important. When we first moved here and I observed this new group of older ladies hosting wedding showers and coordinating funeral dinners and I was worried. Who would take over for them when they passed on? In this world of working women who would have the time? Would pot lucks and church showers become a thing of the past?

This week I received an email. It told a new group of women about the funeral dinner committee and how they coordinate and provide the food for the funerals when a loved one had passed on and would we consider being part of it. Maybe it sounds morbid but I was so touched to receive it because I want to be one of those women who understands the value in celebrating life moments (even the sad ones).


Maybe it seems old fashioned and certainly any man is just as capable (and welcome) to bring a dish to pass at the next event. But it’s not about gender stereotypes it’s about community. It’s about a group of people coming together to love on families in their joys and in their sorrows. We need community whether it comes from our church, our friends, or small groups. We all need community, we’re wired for it. And no amount of busyness is going to replace our need for that support. I would say that very busyness makes it even more important to celebrate babies and weddings. It’s even more critical that we surround families when they lose someone close to them.

So when I got the call asking if I’d be willing to bring a cake to the funeral dinner this weekend I found I was honored. Funny that something like cake can feel important but it is, it’s one of the ways we show we care. It’s one of the ways we come together to say “We’re sorry, and we love you.”

Community, we’re hard wired for it so make your cakes (or just buy them) and get ready to live life with the people around you.


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