Faith: Building Community Pew by Pew

Published : Thursday, October 6, 2016 | 9:30 AM

When Mary Boyle first received the invitation she thought it was a great idea and was looking forward to meeting people, especially being fairly new to the Lake Avenue Church community.

She shared, “As often happens at church, worshipers find themselves sitting in the same general area and pews of the Worship Center each week. We smile and say hello to the people we sit near, but usually don’t really have an opportunity to get to know them.”

Recently Tom and Nancy Smith came up with an idea for their Section M, rows 1 through 14 worshipers. They decided to host a “Get to Know Our Family” potluck lunch at their home. For the next two weeks they placed colorful invitations on the seats in those rows inviting whoever sat there to the potluck. Guests were invited to bring a dish to share  a favorite or cultural specialty.

Boyle continued, “My husband and I decided to go because we love to meet people and feel more a part of things at Lake. Sunday, August 21, over 40 LAC worshipers came to the potluck. The next few hours were spent eating delicious food and getting to know each other. We now have names and blossoming friendships with our section neighbors.”

When asked to share why she decided to do this, Nancy said “Everyone has a need to build relationships where they worship but there isn’t time for that on a Sunday morning, so I thought we could create an opportunity for just that. I was inspired to help people follow through on our church’s Guiding Statement, emphasizing the second Community Essential: Learning in Diverse Communities.”

Everyone loved the idea for helping make this large diverse congregation into a smaller community of new friends. The gathering was made up of all ages and backgrounds; some have attended Lake Avenue for years but there were many newcomers as well.

Nancy continued, “Until you know some names and faces and share a meal together with people in our ‘unexpected family,’ a Worship Center like ours can feel big and lonely. Spending time together outside of the church building shrinks the facility and builds the Church Body. Everyone benefits. It wasn’t hard, and it has been very rewarding! You can even contact me if you want help with planning, just e-mail me at or call (626) 817-4568.”

In closing Boyle said, “As relatively new members of the LAC community, this simple, casual get together made my husband and I feel especially welcomed and at home.” It’s Community Weekend! Visit us in the Lobby where you can connect with groups and ministries!

Lake Avenue Church, 393 North Lake Ave., Pasadena, (626) 844-4700 or visit



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