Sunday Brunch

I recently heard from an LDS friend who has moved to a new city.  He and his wife were careful in their selections of neighborhoods and school districts, and were very happy to find a house they liked in the area they wanted.  The house was just right, budget-wise, and the new neighbors are terrific.  There are four homes on their cul-de-sac, and the other three families are residents of long-standing who have developed strong friendships with one another.  My friend reports that they have been welcomed and feel very much at home already.  Both he and his wife think it might be the best place they have ever lived.

One day last week, they learned that the families on the cul-de-sac get together once a month on Sunday for a brunch.  This has been going on for years, and the families take turns hosting the whole gang in their homes.  It is a big deal, and something that everybody enjoys.  Some of the neighbors have identified this monthly gathering as the secret ingredient which enables the families to be such good friends.

My friends immediately sized up the implications.  With church starting at 9:00 a.m., they would have to skip the gathering, and they wouldn’t be able to take their turn as hosts.  Not the end of the world, really, but disappointing, and probably a good way to make a bad first impression on the neighbors.  But as they considered their options, they realized that they could attend church once a month in the other ward which meets in the afternoon.  This arrangement would enable them to be full participants in the life of their neighborhood and still not skip the sacrament.  The more they thought about it, the more they liked the idea, and have decided to move ahead with this plan.

The more I think about it, the more I like it, too.  While I’m sitting in priesthood lesson, hearing yet another lesson on the value and importance of members befriending their neighbors, my LDS friends will actually be doing God’s work at home once a month, serving their neighbors by providing juice and french toast and sliced fruit and good conversation, and reflecting the light of the gospel to the people among whom God has placed them.

I’m interested to hear what you think about this.  If the neighborhood held brunch once a month and it conflicted with your church schedule, what would you do?  What if there wasn’t a ward for you to attend in the afternoon?


  1. Until your friend is made Bishop it works.

  2. Sidebottom says:

    Two sides to this coin. Hosting or participating in a neighborhood brunch is service only in the loosest sense of the word. And knowing that they are absent from their church meetings may confuse friends as to the priority that their faith takes in their life.

  3. Steve Evans says:

    Yeah, I’d go, but I’m a sucker for brunch. All the good things from breakfast with the timing and casualness of lunch!

  4. For me it would just be a question of good, better, or best. While spending that time with the neighbors would be good I think the best use of my time that morning would be serving at my home ward.

    I would explain my situation to all and invite everyone to my house for lunch three times a year when it would normally be our turn to host.

    Change is ok.

  5. If there wasn’t another ward to attend, I wouldn’t skip church.

    If I had a calling in my ward that required me to be there (teacher, etc.), I wouldn’t swap meeting times.

    But if those two situations are taken care of, I would have no problem with swapping schedules one week a month in the interest of community building. As a leader, I wouldn’t take issue with a member family swapping schedules to do the same.

    I do think that after a few months (perhaps a year), I would bring the situation to the other families. Brunch is certainly not the only time the group can get together. It’s one thing to ask them to change an established tradition when you are new. It’s another to ask friends (which I hope you have become) to adjust to help you reconcile two good priorities.

    My two cents.

  6. Would the neighbors not understand if brunch became lunch to accomodate? And then once the block schedule changed and they go later, they could go back to hosting for brunch.

  7. Julie M. Smith says:

    I’d probably offer to host at 12:30. Or on Saturday.

    Because the odds are–whether through chance or deliberate plotting–the husband or wife will get a calling that will require church attendance (Primary or whatever).

  8. I’d agonize over it and then choose church. Our family is big enough that there’s always somebody with some responsibility every Sunday. The other thing is that kids won’t understand the reasoning — they just know that one Sunday per month they get to party rather than go to their own ward, and will figure all sorts of other things are just as worthy as the brunch.

    I’d work really hard to integrate with the neighborhood, but I know from experience if they choose church over the brunch, they’ll definitely pay a price in closeness with their neighbors.

  9. The father should take the job that offers less money but doesn’t require him to work on Sunday. The family will realize the blessings that come from making Church a priority will outweigh the additional income.

    Read your scriptures, pay a full tithe, Joseph Smith.

    (I figured as long as everybody is giving stock Sunday School Answers (TM), I’d fill in the rest.)

    And someday the missionaries will come tracting through the neighborhood, and those three families will answer the door and explain that they once knew a Mormon family, and they were so uppity that they couldn’t be bothered to modify their schedule once a month for friendship and food. The missionaries will try to explain that the leaders at Church have tried to encourage members to be more friendly, and to try not to treat the Gentiles like lepers, but the door will close and those people who could have been the next Scoutmaster or Bishop will go on with their dreary, dull, sad, brunch-eating lives.

  10. I know that we should be either hot or cold…
    But I think I have missed more church meetings due to travel and illness than your friend. So what about a compromise? Your friend could volunteer to host on Conference Weekends, which would only require them to miss one other Sunday. On that day they volunteer to host a BBQ or lunch, so you would skip the auxiliaries. Then they go to every other brunch, making sure to go to each neighbor’s home once. End result, they go to the other ward 3x and only miss half the block.

  11. John Mansfield says:

    A couple indications of the finite importance of attending services with our ward each Sunday: 1) We cancel services four times a year for stake and general conferences. 2) Stake presidents usually don’t attend their home wards much.

    I’m fine with skipping now and then to meet the needs of the gentiles, but a regular monthly absence would be too much.

  12. I’d side with your friends. The important aspect of church is the Sacrament. That is the part that allows us to commune with God and connect with Christ’s atonement. Everything else seems mostly to me to be teaching us how to be good Christians.
    I see integrating with the community as being part of being a good Christian, or at the very least, being a good person. It wouldn’t even be a dilemma for me. I understand the desire to be obedient to the most minute detail, even when no commandment is expressed; but its just not a mentality that I adopt. I think Mormons spend so much time meeting and talking about how to be good Mormons, that sometimes we miss the opportunities to be good people.

  13. #12
    I think the term is “Over the top ridiculous, just to get a point across”.

  14. Dude, really?

    Fascinating argument. Please, do go on.

  15. If I ever move into a cul-de-sac that has monthly brunches, please shoot me.

  16. we had a friendly cul-de-sac once… until one couple split and the other 2 families picked sides in the divorce.. been a cold angry cul-de-sac ever since. if only we had skipped church and held brunches, all would be good

  17. I would simply explain things to the folks and host a luncheon at 1:30 if they were agreeable.

  18. RE:15

    Would you ask a Muslim to give up daily prayers to attend the brunch?

    I don’t believe that those who would choose to attend church instead of brunch should be classified as narrow-minded, isolationist, or having a simple “Sunday School answer” mentality.

  19. #12 Michael, I don’t think you’ll see many mindless “Sunday School” answers here. I think most people realize there’s not an open-and-shut case to be made here.

  20. #9 Michael, not 12…

  21. 19 – see, now that was a real argument.

    No, I wouldn’t [necessarily] accuse them of being narrow-minded, isolationist, or having a simple mentality either. Like I said in my comment (13), I can understand the mentality, it just wouldn’t fly for me.

    BTW, my snarky comment was mostly because I thought your inclusion of a link for Freudian Projection was a little passive-aggressive. I probably should have just kept my mouth shut.

  22. Don’t knock cul-de-sacs. My wife’s uncle once lived in a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood along the Wasatch Front. He and his wife shared the cul-de-sac with the uncle’s other wife. They were a close-knit family like that. They had no problems with Sunday brunch.

  23. Susan, amen.

  24. Bro. Jones says:

    #12 Dunno, I’m with #9.

    I was in a roughly similar situation, and I chose the “Sunday School” approach to keep the Sabbath holy rather than fellowship with a group of non-members that I knew.

    Result: Responses ranged from outright anger to sudden coldness, my missionary efforts towards one of the people who’d been previously interested completely ran dry, and it took months for them to forgive me. For what, so I could (literally) spend Sunday by myself reading scriptures instead?

    I have regretted that decision for years. It may not exactly have been Jesus healing on the Sabbath, but I can’t help but feel that He would’ve chosen fellowship, food, and fun over isolation and literal intepretation of the law.

  25. Many years ago when I was struggling as a new bishop to explain “the rules” about a variety of subjects to members who came in search of those rules, I was blessed to attend a priesthood leadership meeting for a regional conference attended by President Hinkley and Elder Oaks. Elder Oaks was the first speaker that day. He stood at the pulpit and said, “In our church we don’t have rules. We have doctrine and we have principles.” Then he repeated those same words. It was like an answer to my prayer.

    I think the variety of opinions expressed above are an indication that we have the freedom in our church to interpret situations in a variety of ways (I especially like the response from SusanM #16). I think your firends have found a creative way to accomplish two things – 1. Stay active in church and 2. Become a friend and active participant in the neighborhood. I think it would be appropriate to explain to the neighbors that there may come a time that they could not participate (should they be given weekly callings) without an adjustment to the schedule. But in the meantime, they have communicated their desire to be part an important participant in the neighborhood.

  26. It’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe. It’s very nice.

  27. RE:22

    It probably was a little passive-aggressive. I’m projecting my own insecurities :)

  28. I also like what Susan said, and would like to add that I would probably use going to church as an excuse just to get OUT of having to go to brunch.

  29. Would you ask a Muslim to give up daily prayers to attend the brunch?

    This response, and the lack of response to it, surprises me. There is not a requirement to attend church every Sunday in the same way that a Muslim needs to pray. Being active means once a month for the record keeping and as often as possible for the TR. Church membership needs to balance with the demands of the other meaningful communities we belong to. For myself I would definitely skip to host and as possible to manage otherwise.

  30. Steve Evans says:

    I’m shocked at the brunch-haters here. Susan next time we meet I’m taking you to brunch. Randy you can afford your own brunch.

  31. It’s not the food, it’s the living in a cul de sac and hanging out with the neighbors.

    (Although if there’s cantaloupe you can count me out.)

  32. StillConfused says:

    If you want, the family can express that that time conflicts with their religious services. Get the input of the neighbors. You may find them to be very accommodating of the time.

  33. Solicitor says:


    “Church membership needs to balance with the demands of the other meaningful communities we belong to.”

    Since when? Do you suggest that this also applies to a bowling league, hunting club, or semi-pro football team?

    Church membership should be the defining association of our lives. When talking about “balance” in this context, I think the expectation is that there is a thumb on the scale in favor of Church activity.

  34. Steve Evans says:

    Oh. Well Susan you just need better neighbors!

  35. RE: #30

    “Do you strive to attend your Sacrament and Priesthood Meetings . . . etc?”

  36. Regarding #2, why does hosting brunch need to be “service” to be worthwhile? Making friendships with people outside the church is something most of us could and should be doing more. Broadening our social horizons is not only the best way to do missionary work, it’s also generally good pr for the Church, which we desperately need right now (see here).

    I disagree that children wouldn’t understand why they’re skipping the ward and attending in the afternoon. Even small children can understand the importance of friendship and community building.

    I’d attend the brunches, making exceptions for special Sundays like the Primary Presentation or being asked to give a talk. Those might be good times to invite the neighbors.

  37. Mark Brown says:

    Solicitor, nobody is talking about going inactive.

    I will say that I’m a bit surprised by some of the responses. I’ve had bishops who missed church at least once a month because they were visiting extended family. So let’s change the context a little — would you miss church in your own ward if your parents or in-laws wanted you and all your sibs to attend with them in their ward and have a family meal afterward?

  38. Bruce Rogers says:

    Our ward meets in the morning this year, and we have had members from the afternoon ward attend our services when they had a family reunion (they were converts from a strong Catholic background). Some members of our ward have traveled to a reunion in another state and then they have to choose to what services they will attend there. I have decided that they are entitled to receive inspiration for what they should do, and I should respect that.

  39. I’m certainly quoting out of context here, but Richard Bushman said something to the effect that perhaps we should spend less time trying to convert people, and more time being good neighbors. I don’t think he was specifically thinking about brunches, though. As for me and my cul de sac, we will maintain our anonymity and distance.

    Steve, as to the brunch haters out there, how about this exchange between Merry to Pippin: “Do you think he’s heard about second breakfast?”

  40. Mark (38),
    Sure, once. Or maybe now and then. But not regularly.

    I’m just anal retentive about my Church attendance, I guess. This is ironic, given how little attention I usually pay.

  41. Church membership needs to balance with the demands of the other meaningful communities we belong to.

    I agree with that if you change it to “Participation in Church functions.”

  42. RE:38

    I guess I would answer the TR question differently if it was to visit with family then to have brunch with neighbors.

    We all have a “would not cross” line somewhere based on how we feel about the ward. Being that I’m not in Utah and am part of a small branch I feel that missing church in the OP example would not be justified for me.

    Also, having experience with families who stop coming for a few weeks because of some other event, e.g. soccer or dance, then not coming back to church for years, I guess I’m naive enough to think that it could happen to me.

  43. Since when? Do you suggest that this also applies to a bowling league, hunting club, or semi-pro football team?

    I suggest every member is free to make that decision. The TR question is a self-assessment, not a check for perfect attendance.

    Church membership should be the defining association of our lives.

    I completely disagree with this statement. It an important association, but the defining one? That’s too much pressure to put on an institution that cannot meet the needs of many of its members.

  44. Scott (42), yes, fair point.

  45. I don’t see why it would be so hard to say to the neighbors, “What a great tradition! We’re glad we’ve moved into such a friendly neighborhood, and we look forward to getting to know all of you better. We do have a conflict with the brunch schedule. Our church meetings start at 9 and don’t get out until noon. We would love to participate if we could modify the brunch schedule a bit”. Then see what they have to say. I would think that people interested in being true friends would be interested in making sure the brunch is a good fit for everyone.

    But, that’s only if you really want to go. I tend to agree with Susan M.

  46. John Mansfield says:

    “If you want, the family can express that that time conflicts with their religious services. Get the input of the neighbors. You may find them to be very accommodating of the time.”—Still Confused #33

    This alludes to a relevant factor. Attending church services Sunday mornings is not just some weird Mormon thing that the neighbors will never have heard of.

    Also, the temple recommend question includes the word “strive,” which means that none of us are worthy to enter the temples unless we have generated strife in connection with our sacrament meeting attendance. “Do you strive to attend your meetings?” Or maybe I’ve been answering that one wrong, and the bishop has been letting my strife slide anyway.

  47. Church schedules usually rotate.

    Can I have honeydew instead of cantaloupe? With lime please.

  48. Bruce Rogers says:

    To #47 I am not clear how the author connects the words “strive” and “strife”. Yes, I strive to attend sacrament meeting, but it does not create strife. Indeed, it is a peaceful experience that helps me to eliminate strife in my life.

  49. John Mansfield says:

    The connection of “strive” and “strife” in comment #47 is done for purposes of humor only and is not meant as counsel. As recompense for any misleading confusion, please enjoy the following dialogue from Act II of “The Tempest”:

    GONZALO. When every grief is entertain’d that’s offer’d, Comes to th’ entertainer-
    SEBASTIAN. A dollar.
    GONZALO. Dolour comes to him, indeed; you have spoken truer than you purpos’d.
    SEBASTIAN. You have taken it wiselier than I meant you should.

  50. 47–Going to church for 3 HOURS is, however, just a weird Mormon thing that the neighbors will not have heard of, and will find bizarre.

  51. Kristine,
    Fair point, but I would likely alter my feelings on the question considerably if we could distinguish between skipping Sacrament meeting (just an hour-ish), and “skipping Church.”

  52. I would choose to go to Church, because my wife, myself, and my 2 year old son all have Sunday-necessary callings. And maybe because I’m afraid I’d like skipping Church a little too much (even if I attended another Sacrament mtg).

    But I truly respect those who would brunch with the homies. I think that takes courage and would do more to develop friendships with neighbors than going to Church would.

  53. There’s not only the “righteousness” question in regards to skipping church/attending a different ward’s sacrament meeting. There is also the relationships with the ward members to consider. The family is essentially choosing to spend that time developing friendships with their neighbors instead of ward members. I would not claim to know which is more important, only that there is a loss either way. Personally, part of the bond I feel with ward members is understanding the sacrifices we all make to be active members of our church. But sometimes the sacrifices are hard and meaningful, and sometimes they are hard and don’t seem to make much sense, which may be the case in this situation.

    I also think with only three other families involved it wouldn’t be impossible to find a time that worked for everyone and don’t think it would be out of line to bring up the possibility. It’s only once a month…

  54. Steve Evans says:

    Seriously, I am getting the distinct impression that some of your people have just never had good brunch Gina, I’m looking at you.

  55. RE: 55

    Then what is General Conference for?

  56. I’m surprised no one’s mentioned the obvious tack of gasping audibly at the neighbors’ invitation, proclaiming, “We’d love to participate, but we choose to follow a PROPHET of GOD, who instructs us to eschew worldly brunches in favor of always-edifying church meetings at our local Mormon chapel, because you know, we actually want ENTRY into the Celestial Kingdom,” and then huddling close with the family, making sure not to lose an opportunity to wax self-righteous for the benefit of the kiddies, and condemning the neighbors as unwitting servants of the Adversary, who would use our failure to attend all 3 meetings as an invitation to shove us down a slippery slope to R-Rated movie-watching and caffeinated beverages. Cause that’s totally what I would do in this situation.

  57. Mark Brown says:

    I would decline the invitation with regrets, then offer a pass-along card. Yeah, I’m sure that would be the best thing to do. The neighbors would remember my righteous example for years.

  58. What’s the big deal about skipping church once a month? That’s what I’d do (and often DO do, though not for such a noble cause). I wouldn’t go looking for another ward. Mormons are psycho-weird, practically superstitious, about attending church EVERY week. Few things are more joyful than sitting out the block schedule on a not-excessive, regular basis.

    Then again, maybe attitudes like mine are what’s going to bring on the apocalypse.

  59. That’s what I’d do (and often DO do


  60. Seriously–skipping Church once a month doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is the structured commitment to skipping it–permanently putting something else in place of worship services. That bugs.

  61. A few thoughts:

    1. This is on fast Sunday, isn’t it?

    2. This conflict will rotate through the schedule as you rotate through the meeting-time cycle, so sometimes it will not be a conflict at all — when you’re on the afternoon schedule, at the very least.

    3. I think attending brunch, at least sometimes, would be okay. If you’re on the 9:00 schedule, you could come home after Sacrament Meeting and be back by ~10:30. Missing SS and RS/PH once a month isn’t the end of the world. Explaining to the neighbors that this is a little tricky, but it’s important to them to try to make it work would show them both that they and Church are a priority, and they might respond with some flexibility as well.

    4. What if, instead of Sunday brunch, it was a Saturday evening wine and cheese party that everybody in the cul-de-sac came to and bonded through? Or a poker night? Or any number of morally difficult or flat-out wrong things? Not equating this with that, but expanding the question to explore how far it’s okay to go to make nice with the neighbors. What if they do partner-swapping or have orgies?

  62. A friend of mine has in-laws who do a weekly Sunday dinner with all children who live nearby. That’s one reason why he refuses to move near his in-laws.

  63. Assuming I’d have to host twice a year I’d volunteer to host the first Sundays in April and October and set the Tivo. Quarterly? Look up the stake conference schedule.

  64. What if, instead of Sunday brunch, it was a Saturday evening wine and cheese party that everybody in the cul-de-sac came to and bonded through?
    I’d be there too, probably would bring along a non-alchy for myself. I doubt anyone would even ask – either I’m Mormon, or I’m a recovering alcoholic, either way I doubt they’d ask (buzzkill)

    Or a poker night?
    Heaven forbid.

    Or any number of morally difficult or flat-out wrong things? Not equating this with that, but expanding the question to explore how far it’s okay to go to make nice with the neighbors. What if they do partner-swapping or have orgies?
    Well, I’d sit this one out (unless I was neighbors with . . . . oh, nevermind). But hey, I bet they’d need a babysitter on these nights, what a great service opportunity!!

  65. When my father joined the church, his bishop used to say frequently, “The only good excuse for missing Sacrament meeting is if you’re dying; and there’s no better place to do that.” It was something my dad taught frequently when he was bishop. And then the dilemma hit.

    He helped establish a high adventure program that culminated in an annual week-long trip on the Appalachian Trail. Out of necessity, we had to be on the trail on Sunday. His solution was to have Sacrament meeting there on the trail. Years after his release, he’s heard from several of those boys that nothing established for them the importance of the Sacrament more than those services we held out on the trail.

    For me, the dissonance is with missing Sacrament (admittedly, my upbringing has a lot to do with that). I’d be much more amenable to the idea if I attended Sacrament at another ward. And even then, I might discuss the option of an alternate time. All that being said, I wouldn’t hold it against anyone who chose to participate in the brunch in lieu of church services.

  66. Yup, I really, really wanted to to go to the beach that day with the family behind us who invited us for the first time, when friendships were starting to bud. But it was Sunday, and we had church.
    The older I get, the gladder I am that my father politely declined the invitation.

    Non-LDS mother-in-law was very upset about not being able to see her baby get married. Not just for a day, or a week, or a month, either. You know what? She got over it. In fact, sometimes now I’m the only one who can tell her things that everyone else wants to tell her, but can’t or they’ll cause problems and get yelled at. I hope this doesn’t come across as bragging (though I admit there probably is some, ;) ), but it was cool to see that change. You do specific things, and specific things happen, and specific things don’t happen.
    I guess my outlook is: have faith, obey, whatever happens will be for the good.
    If only I could hold on to that more…

    We have a group of friends that we also do business with. One family has a cabin in the mountains, about an hour away. They love hosting, and frequently invite others to come on the weekends; that is, from Friday night/ Saturday morning, until Sunday afternoon. If we go (we have gone twice, and turned down invitations twice), we come back Saturday night. There have been no problems on either side, nor with the other friends.
    We also invite them/ their children to events, but on times other than Sunday. There have been no problems on either side, nor with the other friends.
    When we meet new friends, and invitations come up, we almost always politely decline anything on Sunday and explain why. There have rarely been problems on either side.
    When non-LDS mother-in-law wants to go out to eat–even for big events–we go on Saturday, or we almost always politely decline if it’s on Sunday. We tell people we understand their situation and not to feel bad about not always inviting us or our not being there, etc. That helps, I believe.
    We still have ample opportunities, with non-LDS family and friends and acquaintances, for service, getting to know each other, gospel-sharing, etc.–without the Sabbath conflict.
    It’s like WoW, movies, and much more.
    Mutual respect can go a long way in making and keeping good relationships–a heck of a lot more than a good brunch, or whatever else, in my opinion.
    That’s where we are right now, and I’m glad it’s worked quite well.

    Do we miss out on things? Yes, we do. Do we gain something better? Absolutely. Might there be exceptions? Yes. Would I miss church for brunch with neighbors? I hope not!

  67. Attending Sacrament Meeting is important for our spiritual health. I believe we can get the same benefits no matter where we attend. I enjoy attending in my home branch but I don’t think the ordinance loses it’s effectiveness if I partake somewhere else.

  68. Kevin Barney says:

    Will football be involved? Because I’ll skip church for a good football game. Or even a Bears game.

  69. GatoraideMomma says:

    And we also have another good reason to shorten the dang 3 hour block … even 2.5 would be more sane than 3hrs. I counted up I had 3 lectures in Sacrament Mtg. last Sunday, 1 in SS and 1 in the 3rd block. Who needs 5 lectures/partial discussions in a row?

    If I had 9 am Sac. Mtgs I’d be willing to bet the brunch starts at 10 am or later, so I just cut out of the 2nd hour a little early. If any one in the family has weekly classes to teach I’d only go to some of the brunches (arriving late) a few after my move, but not each one and tell them why. I am guessing that this congenial group would move to accommodate my needs and have get togethers at other times before long.

    Of course, we might be so obnoxious that they’ll be glad our family can’t meet the established schedule. .. .smirk. I’d really rather not do the socials on Sunday even if was afternoon tea or whatever.

  70. Cynthia L. says:

    “service opportunity”


    Mormons are nothing if not resourceful–finding gospel applications in _everything_.

  71. In my old California ward, one of my friends and his wife went to China to adopt a baby girl. For a number of years afterwards, he and his family would miss church once a month, because that’s why a group of parents from around the region who all had adopted Chinese children would be having a get-together in Monterey. One of the reasons my friend felt it was important to go was for their daughter to maintain the cultural connection with her country of birth.

    I didn’t really think that his missing church under these circumstances was a big deal, nor, as far as I know, did the other members of my ward. When he was gone, someone had to substitute for him in his Primary class. Not a big problem.

    Another friend in that ward would only attend church services in the morning. As I understand it, his agreement with his non-LDS wife was that he would go to church in the morning, and in the afternoon, be with his family. So every January, when the 2 local wards swapped schedules, the morning ward switching to the afternoon, and vice versa, he would start attending the other ward.

  72. The Jesus of the New Testament would do the brunch.

  73. Only if you read the NIV, DrPepper :)

  74. Does brunch ever start before 11:00? I agree with Blain – go for sacrament meeting then duck out a bit early. Per this blog, everything (including squeezing the orange juice for mimosas) can be done the night before.

    Although I must admit I too am a sucker for brunch.

  75. I have a similar situation, but happily am in a position to skip church once a month. I joined Life Long Learners which meets on Sunday morning once a month. No kids, no church job (am way to liberal and am being shunned by the leadership). The group is amazing and will surely fill a need for friendship and connection not available at church.

    On the late schedule I come in at the end. On the early schedule I might make Sacrament meeting.

    I would, I think, choose the neighbors on an exception basis. They would surely understand the situation if there were times I could not make the brunch.