Flashbacks: On Religion

Religious choices are a personal decision. Although I’m a regular church attendee, I try to be respectful to all. Enjoy, visit as many as you want, and I hope you comment on the post you visited.

On a Church Wine Group

WineToastPeople are generally surprised when I mention that our church has a wine tasting group. Interestingly, the group is not only successful, but it also is one of the longest-running groups at the church.

I’m not sure when the group actually started, but being one of the founding organizers and prime movers, my best guess is 12-15 years ago. We are a fun and fellowship group that uses wine as the vehicle to drive the event.

The following are the basics for our group:

  • Meet 3-5 times per year
  • Volunteers offer to host the event
  • Organizers set the theme, which may be countries, regions, wine types (varietals), or something quirky as numbers, animals, or colors – and something to accommodate red and white wines
  • Attendees sign up in advance, bring a bottle of wine (per couple) within the theme and an appetizer to share

Like any organization, he had growing pains. On the other hand, because we pioneers wanted to be an official church group, we quickly adjusted. Here are some of the finer points that I have learned.

  • We went to the pastors first with our idea to get their permission
  • As attendees arrive, the host provides inexpensive starter wines
  • Using nametags is important
  • Incorporate a “program” within the event – we include a welcome, thanks to the hosts, introducing first-time attendees, a prayer, something informative about the wines/theme, and reminders about the group’s purpose
  • After the program, the remaining time is for fun and fellowship

Additional tips

  • Have a set of wine glasses for the group (they don’t have to be fancy)
  • If the wine runs out, so be it – thus the host does not supplement
  • Know the communication guidelines within the church as newsletter and weekly bulletin submission requirements and deadlines
  • Remind attendees not to fill the glass so everyone gets a chance to taste

Given our longevity, our group has been successful. During our years, I have no doubt that 400 different people attended our functions … thus I wonder how many people would I not know if it wasn’t for our church wine group.

By the way, in this past post, here’s a prayer I put together about wine, The Spirit of Wine. Plus, enjoy some of our home decor done with corks.

On a Dinner Group

GilligansIslandDinnerIn 1999, we were 1 of 4 couples grouped together with the task of getting to know one another by hosting a simple meal in each of our homes. Meeting 4 times over 9 months seemed like a reasonable undertaking in order to expand our church family.

Ten years and 55 dinner-gatherings later, we’re still meeting. Since we initially clicked, we continued to meet and began sharing cooking duties for theme-oriented events. Whether cultural nights as Italian, Japanese, Scandinavian, Greek, or Lebanese; or celebration themes as Mardi Gras, Christmas, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or Fourth of July; or food themes as wrapped, stuffed, on a stick, yellow, or homemade pizza; or many others including Gilligan’s Island that introduced the world to Mrs. Skipper – we’ve eaten well, drank many bottles of wine, and developed meaningful friendships.

Within the group we’ve experienced deaths of parents, high school and college graduations, marriages, birth of grandchildren, surgeries, buying & selling of homes, difficult health issues, significant professional changes with 7 of us, and many other personal events. Life events and demands continue to change everyone, yet we still continue to meet – and the next one is at our house with the theme of Julie Child recipes. If we would have only kept the recipes of all our feasts … wow! Nonetheless, bon appetite!