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?