The Big Lunch - Sunday 1 June 2014

A - suggested crowd
As part of Hope14, churches in Nottingham are inviting their neighbours to a Big Lunch in June. Some churches are hosting a Big Lunch for their neighbourhood in a local park; others are holding their Big Lunch as a smaller street party. Churches in the NG9 postcode, for example, will be running Big Lunch parties on their streets. Then everyone is invited to a massive banquet in Market Square Nottingham on Sunday 22 June.

The Big Lunch is a very simple idea from the Eden Project. Their aim is to get as many people as possible across the whole of the UK to have lunch with their neighbours once a year in a simple act of community, friendship and fun. Since starting in 2009, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place in all types of community across the UK. In 2012 the Big Lunch fell on the same weekend as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the Big Jubilee Lunch was part of the main Diamond Jubilee programme of events announced by Buckingham Palace. Research shows that an astonishing 8.5 million people took part in events across the UK.
 
For some churches that held a Big Jubilee Lunch, it gave new opportunities to build bridges with people in their community. One guest at a church-run Big Lunch in Croydon, South London, started attending the church every week after finding everyone so welcoming and friendly at the June lunch. She has since been baptised and has become part of the church.
 
The Big Lunch is not a church initiative, but many churches take part each year. Churches all over the UK have held Big Lunch events to bring their communities closer together. A Big Lunch can be anything from a few neighbours getting together in the garden or on their street, to a full blown party with food, music and decoration that quite literally stops the traffic.
 
The official date for The Big Lunch in 2014 is Sunday 1 June. Tips for organisers can be found on The Big Lunch website organising a Big Lunch is easier than you might think. But it doesn’t have to be a fancy affair.
 
The apostles Paul and Peter both urged the early church to ‘practise hospitality’ (Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9). Even if you don’t have a Big Lunch this year, plan to invite your neighbours to share a meal sometime this summer and ask God to use the conversations to build bridges in your community. Who knows what the Holy Spirit will do as Christians throughout the UK reach out and break bread with neighbours who don’t yet know Jesus.