The Traditional Church Pot Luck

Our church is having their annual Palm Sunday pot luck luncheon this Sunday.  Pot lucks are a long-standing tradition in many churches.  Members are asked to bring a dish to share with others at the luncheon.  Sometimes, churches become quite specific in their requests: last names ending in A-L bring a salad, M-S bring a vegetable, and T-Z furnish dessert.  Then there are churches like ours that enjoy the thrill of what comes through the door, even if you do run the risk of having all chocolate cake (not a bad thing, either).

One thing that our church does do well for these gatherings is decorating.  We will feed approximately 350 people during a pot luck dinner.  Feeding 350 may feel like 5000 if our church doesn’t take steps to streamline the set up and clean up, including decorating.  At each event, disposable paper tablecloths are used.  Sure, using linen or thick cotton/polyester tablecloths would be great, but the upkeep (washing and ironing) and storage of such items is next to impossible in our facility.  Plus, we can change the color of the tables to match our theme: red during Pentecost, purple for Lent or Advent, and so on.  For a nicer affair, Linen-Like Tablecloths are perfect.  They are a heavy-weight, soft paper table covering.  They are elegant to the touch and the eyes, yet they are completely disposable.

There are times when we opt not to use tablecloths.  Disposable placemats are a great alternative to a tablecloth.  Colors can be combined for a coordinating look, or a single color may be used for uniformity.  A great perk to using placemats is that everyone cleans up their entire ‘spot’ - including the mat!

In addition to nice tablecloths, we also use a good supply of banquet napkins.  While these are typically white, we do splurge for designs and colors to coordinate with our theme, especially at Palm Sunday/Easter and Christmas.  Napkins can even be purchased in caterwraps.  Caterwraps are individually-wrapped plastic cutlery in a disposable napkin.  These are perfect for large groups or short set-up windows.

For table decorations, our church will be providing potted flowering plants for each table, wrapped in tissue paper and centered on a large doily.  The doilies give the flowers some focus, blending between the table and the pots.  The flowers will either be auctioned off as a fundraiser for our church or will be given away in a random drawing.  Our food displays will be accented with table centerpieces for Easter.

The most important thing about our church gatherings such as pot luck dinners is the fellowship we all share with each other.  Doing so in a lovely-decorated atmosphere is simply icing on the cake, so to speak!

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