Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hosting a Funeral Luncheon

This week Carol and I provided an after-the-funeral meal for a friend. We held it at our church and served about thirty people. It was fun to see how pretty we could make the tables using only what we could find in the church kitchen, and a few things we brought in.


I brought a stack of vintage and gingham tablecloths, and draped every table in at least two layers. All the tables were round, and all the cloths were square or rectangular, but no matter. I made a little centerpiece for each table using my thrifted milk glass vases and what flowers I could find in the parking lot plantings--pink impatiens and crepe myrtle, mostly. The mixed but matching vases and flowers sort of pulled everything together.


With time to fuss, we decided to plate the cakes Carol had made--one was chocolate and one was a very pink strawberry. We sliced them and laid them on clear glass plates, then set them around the centerpieces alternating pink and brown. Sweet!

When we found we still had time, we plated salads and set them on the dinner plates. To keep things pretty, we put salad greens in the center of the salad plate, then garnished each with little separate piles of salad vegetables--cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, alternating the bright colors.

Carol finished off the tables by digging up pretty glass punch cups and making sets of three, filled with different salad dressings and set on little plates. They added beautiful color also.

I think the family felt cared for. They ate and ate every bite of lasagna, Carol brought toys out of the nursery for the little ones to play with, and everyone stayed and talked for hours.

26 comments:

Lisateresa said...

That's kindness.

YayaOrchid said...

That is so sweet of you and your friend. I must say from what I see from the pictures, all the decor must have looked so lovely!

Traci said...

It sounds like you were really able to be a blessing to that family.

Heather said...

How wonderful!!

jodi said...

Having been the recipient of food more than once at such occasions I can tell you that it is a great blessing. Thank you for doing that for your friend. The family will remember the kindness.

Krista said...

How nice to have a casual, beautiful meal on such a stressful day. If I were attending a funeral, a formal meal with all its demands on my etiquette would have been a strain, not a gift. Good job! And you made crepe myrtle look pretty, too!

Karen said...

Being in a small town here, our parent's church does the same thing for bereaved families. It is a wonderful ministry and you've given me some great ideas to use next time. Thanks

Bell said...

Meals like that are something we do after funerals for our church family and friends. Reading your post made me realize that we don't put much effort into making it pretty. I will have to work on this!

Edi said...

It is a blessing to have friends take care of the post funeral meal and to actually make it look pretty. And a blessing to be the ones doing the work.

Kimmie said...

What a great ministry to others.

Kimmie
mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

Catty Ax Lady said...

How appreciative that family must've been...what a great blessing to be able to give. And from the looks of what's shown, I'll bet it was stunning.

Suzanne said...

It is always so touching when a church family rallies around you when you need it. God is good!

affectioknit said...

That was so kind and just what a bereaved family needs. Blessings on your ministry.

Janna said...

What a lovely thing for you to do! The cheerful colors must've been so wonderful.

Wendy said...

Everything sounds so lovely, I'm sure the family were blessed by all your thoughtful touches to make a difficult day more pleasant.

good_to_be_home said...

People always notice details like that, even if they don't realize they're noticing! What a blessing you were/are. I enjoyed the photos.

Gina said...

Satisfying all around; for you two using your creativity, for the friend and family, and for us to enjoy reading. Thank you for sharing that with us, Anna.

Shannon@Idylwild said...

Anna - I really appreciate that you shared this. Making things beautiful lends such an air of peace about a place. I'm sure that feeling of peace was a big part of why they were able to stay and talk for hours. And nothing is more healing to a grieving family than to be able to just sit and talk.

Cathy said...

Your photos are lovely. What a beautiful ministry.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Amazing how God can use our homemaking skills to minister to more than just our family. -Leslie

Heather said...

Anna, what a blessing you are. As usual, you have brought fineness and excellence to a simple meal. Funeral luncheons are such an important part of the family farewell, and such an important first step of healing, I think. I really miss taking part in the preparation and planning of those special times, because like you, I tried very hard to express my love through the meals we prepared.

Sommer said...

Wow! What a lovely blessing!

I remember the luncheon for my Grandmother a couple of years ago that the church prepared and hosted. Although there wasn't quite as pretty a touch, the warmth and love they had for our family and for her was obvious. We were all able to enjoy memories of her in a calm atmosphere.

I'm sure this family will always hold what you did dear.

Blessings,
Sommer

Andrea said...

I think that when church family steps up and chooses to serve another family in such a manner as this, it is the epitome of being Christian and what we are called to do as Christians.

Having experienced many deaths in my relatively young (26 years old) life, I can tell you...the folks who stayed, reminisced, celebrated a loved ones' homegoing, and cried with us at the luncheons or dinners meant so much more than the empty cards and promises of "I'll see you soon" that never did come soon enough.

You ladies blessed that family more than you know. My only prayer is that someday, when it is your turn, someone blesses you in the same manner.

Melissa Lester said...

What lovely touches you added to make your friend's family feel special. I'm sure they felt at home surrounded by such beautiful things and people who cared.

Mrs. U said...

I just LOVE reading your blog. I especially loved today's post. Our church will provide meals for families in the fellowship hall either before or after the funeral (whichever the family prefers), but it has never once crossed my mind to DECORATE!! What a wonderful way to bring just a smidge of sunshine to a family's dark day.

Thank you for a beautiful blog and wonderful ideas!

His,
Mrs. U

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing on what you did for a Funeral Luncheon. I will be doing one soon and it really helped me with ideas.

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