1. Hosting Events in my Home

    I was asked by my minister to host a small discussion group at my home for members of my church. The event takes place in the evening, around dinner time. I am planning on serving a light dinner or heavy appetizers, since I know people will be coming straight from work. This is a monthly group that rotates locations.

    The problem: The minister wants anyone coming to contribute some money to the meal. This is against every hostess instinct I have, and I am mortified by the idea. He believes that it’s necessary to create a culture of this type of giving (I presume since others might be discouraged from hosting if they felt they needed to pay to feed people).

    Am I overreacting? How would you feel if you were one of my guests? Does anyone have ideas for a solution to this problem? I appreciate your advice!

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      I understand how you feel, but I can also see where your minister is coming from. This is a church event, not your event. Therefore I think your minister feels it’s not fair for you to have all of the burdens of hosting when you were already kind enough to volunteer your home. Think of yourself as a coordinator rather than host. If possible, you can try to avoid the responsibility of collecting money yourself to make things less uncomfortable.

    • Ruth Peltier

      The real issue here is whether this is the accepted policy of the group or a new idea. If this is what the members are used to you need to “go with the flow”. If this is new then I would ask the other potential hostesses what they will be doing. Personally, I would say that if all the group members will eventually host, then it will even out and I would forget the idea of “donations”

    • Alicia

      I would feel as you do. I would not be comfortable accepting money for hosting. I would let the priest know that you would rather no collection but if he insists then the collection will go towards some charity that is in keeping with the discussion subject. ( almost any biblical discussion can be tied to some worthy charity)

  2. Katherine

    When one has social plans to visit a friend, and the host gives the guest advance warning that several members of their family have come down with colds, but nevertheless treats the plans as fixed, is it permissible for the guest to cancel? I find myself torn between feeling some dismay at the idea of catching a cold and feeling some obligation to “keep my word” and visit my friend. I was wondering what the correct etiquette in this situation might be? Thanks!

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      I’m guessing the reason why they are telling you about their colds is to give you an opportunity to back out. You are welcome to take it. Say “Why don’t we see each other another time when you’re feeling better? I wouldn’t feel right imposing on you while you’re not well.”

    • Jody

      Susan, I think there’s no definite timeframe. Some families publish death notices well after the actual event; they may have wanted a private service yet wanted to let people know of the person’s death. Your local newspaper should be able to help you word the notice. You could also ask the funeral home who helped with the arrangements to help with the death notice.

  3. Svend

    Given that sex, religion, politics, war and business are unforgivably rude at the supper table, or in a bar or club, what topics should I learn to become “qualified in conversation”?

  4. Alicia

    Literature, TV, friends,current events, hobbies,weather, kind commentary, families, sports, the outdoors,local happenings, music, theater, charity, fashion, food, ect.
    Oh and all those topics you mention are not for conversation with acquaintances but can make some of the most entertaining among friends provided everyone is willing to graciously disagree and not step on each other toes.

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