Monica posted about another layer her family adds to the specialness of the Lord's Day, and it inspired me to share what we do on Sundays.
Our church has a potluck every Sunday. Yes, every Sunday.
I really like it. I like the obvious reason of only preparing one casserole (maybe two) and sometimes one dessert to share with the whole church family, instead of an entire meal for just the two of us. I also like more subtle reasons: the chitchat and catchup with the folks in the kitchen as we prepare the food to go on the tables; the visiting over meals that we all get to do; the comments and compliments I get to share with other cooks in my congregation; the way we all crowd into the fellowship hall. We get in each other's way, we bump into each other, the little kids are underfoot...but we are all there, sharing this time together, learning at least a few of the minutiae and details of each other's personalities. (For example, one gentleman has Parkinson's but wants to contribute anyway, so he brings a box of cookies each week. There's always someone who puts his little donation into a nice dish so that they're just as special as any of the homemade desserts. Another example: the pastor's wife happens to have a real 'leadership' personality, and she organizes events that need organized.)
Don't think that it's all sunshine and roses, though. Like any family dynamic, this routine of Sunday potluck also brings out some weaknesses. There are patterns and routines we have when we all get together that I don't like, but nonetheless--we're a family, and the Big Sunday Potluck has potential either to make people feel included or to make them feel overlooked. My experience is that it's inclusive and fun.