From Uncle Jim, comes this idea of opening his household:
We currently have an invitation out to about 60 people to come for dinner next Saturday evening. The way the invite goes, the first 25 to respond get in. We do this 3 - 6 times a year I would guess. Each time there may be some of the same folks invited, especially from among those who couldn't make it the previous time ... or didn't make their response in time. Through the course of the year, we keep trying to get some new people in the door. It is usually a pretty good mix of folks - and most of the time it includes families - kids - a few or a lot. Once in a while we'll make it an adults only invite to people who don't have kids at home. But it is a lot of fun. I encourage others to try it. You don't have to go large - half a dozen would do. Invite 20 and say the first 6 or 8 to respond get in. Oh - and you let them know that once you have a head count and demographic, you'll be calling them to let them know what they can bring.
Now, instead of working on my next article for the Telegraph, this thought popped into my head: why not use this strategy to reinvigorate the life of a parish?
Hear me out: parishes already have a list of members, with addresses, and usually also broken down somewhat by ages, families with children, teens, DINKs, retirees. So, once a month (a week?), the parish would invite a group, sometimes connected, sometimes mixed, to dinner. The first x number to respond get in, the rest get put back on the list for future invites. I see this as a great chance for the pastor to lead and shepherd his parish, as he could give a short little reflection on different aspects of parish/Catholic life, and he would get to konw his people in a different light, and the people would get to know each other.
What do I mean by 'invite a group, sometimes connected, sometimes mixed'? Simple: one time it is for young families, sometimes for families with teens, some times it would be only for adults, other timese it would be for a smattering of each of these groups. I would clearly advertize this in the letter sent.
What do you think?