Monday, March 18, 2013

Parish Fundraising Dinners

You know those fundraising dinners for the parish, where you dress up, drink too much, bid on items you don't want, eat bad food, and have bad entertainment?  Ladies, you know that last minute search of the clearance rack of the department store for something formal?  You know how you think you will never wear it again?  You know how you sit there and wonder why you spend so much money on that evening, and so little of it actually goes to the parish?

Yup.  I hate those events.  This is not about one of those.

Our new parish has a trivia night as it's fundraiser.  It was a blast.  The questions were suitably difficult, the food was outstanding, the dress was casual or costumes.  Our team had tinfoil hats.

What struck me most about the dinner was that there wasn't an obvious parish leader who was showing off.  There wasn't the cool-kids table.  There weren't any obvious outsiders.

What I did see was several babies with their young mothers.  The babies were not at any time a distraction.  Toddlers and older kids were at home with babysitters.  Teens were working the room, serving.  For every age of every person in every family, there was a place.  And it was a happy place.

Our Pastor, Father Damien Cook, kept the evening moving with humor that would put the best stand-up comedians to shame.  He really is the master of ceremonies.

As someone who is still in her first year of sobriety, I really appreciated the lack of drunkenness.  At most of these types of events, bars are open far too long, and red and white wine are on the table when you sit down.  At this event, a server came by with a box from which we could purchase a bottle with a free will offering.  I bought a bottle of red for our table.  It was perfect. Our guests had what they wanted, and I wasn't tempted.

Many years ago, I was at a fundraiser for another parish.  Near the end of the evening I saw an acquaintance who was a little worse for drink.  She was crying because she knew her husband would be angry with how much money she had spent.  Not exactly happy memories.

I realized this weekend that alcohol and spending too much money do not have to be the corner stones of fancy parish dinners.

Thank you God for Saint Peter Parish.

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