Starting a Peacemeal

Starting a Peacemeal is inviting friends around to eat!

However, what makes a Peacemeal distinct is its purpose. You’ll see from the stories on our homepage that there are many Peacemeal possibilities, so it’s important to have an idea of where you want to begin.

Getting Started

Before your first Peacemeal, invite a group of people you think will be sympathetic and talk through the options with them, decide and plan together. Identify people you know who are lonely, don’t attend church or are looking for something new – could you invite someone who is usually on the margins? Try, in all your planning, to make your welcome as wide as possible.

In terms of where to have your Peacemeal, a home setting gives a genuine intimacy and opportunity for hospitality. Do you have the space to host, or do you know anyone who does? A neutral setting like a community centre or café can work too.

The nature of your Peacemeal will largely depend on its members. It’s OK to try something for your first Peacemeal and find out that it doesn’t really work for your group – you can always rethink and make changes, with the agreement of everyone involved. Remember to keep talking and checking in periodically.

The Food

Keep it simple. Make bread the centrepiece to ‘tear and share’ together, and include wine or soft drinks as appropriate. Support this with soup, stew, or another meal that’s easy to serve and share (have a look at our Recipes). If you like, place dips and finger food around the table. Plenty for everyone. Plenty for unexpected last-minute guests.

Feeding a large number of people can be a hard and expensive task, so ask others to bring and share. The true test of a good Peacemeal is that everyone feels comfortable to contribute in some way – even if that’s helping with the washing up. Hopefully, some people will feel empowered to host a Peacemeal themselves!

Consider sharing a vegan meal; this is the most inclusive, gentle, nutritious and inexpensive of all the options. However, when it comes to sharing food, it is what flows from your heart that matters most.

The Focus

When it comes to giving the Peacemeal focus, ask someone to take responsibility (you can take it in turns each time) or perhaps share a ‘leaderless liturgy’ together. Have a look at the Liturgies page for inspiration. You might choose to use a specific discussion topic, story from scripture or one of our Firelighters to kick-start the conversation.

Remember, food-sharing is a medium for the spiritual, so be sensitive, attuned and expectant for significant special moments!

Don’t leave the Peacemeal without deciding a date for the next one. It’s always useful to have one clear point of communication for organising the practical details: this can be a Facebook group, shared calendar, email list or designated person to take on the networking role.

After your first Peacemeal, discuss what worked, or didn’t work. Make suggestions and creative adaptations. Changes work best when they’re organic, not rushed and involve input from the whole group.

Finally, please contact us and describe your experiences, so that in turn we can pass them on to encourage others. We look forward to hearing from you!

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