Fancy going out for 'dinner on the driveway' tonight?

Hey, neighbour. Bring your picnic table or blanket – to your front yard

A pastor and his family are having dinners on their driveway in regional New South Wales, to visibly promote community during a time of social distancing.

“In the current climate, we have very little look forward to,” says David Morgan, associate pastor at Port Macquarie’s Grace Church.

“The dinner provides a glimmer of hope during calamity,” – David Morgan

Wanting to give his neighbours something “to look forward to,” he and his wife Elizabeth came up with ‘Dinner on the Driveway’ earlier this month.

“The dinner provides a glimmer of hope during calamity; that there are moments that can still be cherished, there are stories to be shared and little wins to celebrate.”

As many around the world create ways to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘Dinner on the Driveway’ has neighbours eating dinner out the front of their homes, and interacting from a distance.

The Morgans have been joined in the early evening by other people on their street, eating on picnic blankets or camp chairs, as children draw with chalk or play.  Where the street can be empty throughout much of the day, the Morgans communal meal brings people outside to share something beyond their immediate circle.

As well as supporting their neighbours, the Morgans have encouraged people to get behind local restaurants by ordering take-away.

“Local businesses have often been called upon to assist [local communities], and now it is time for the local community to dig a little deeper where possible and help these businesses come out strong.”

The impact of driveway dinners has spread beyond David’s street, with communities doing the same across New South Wales. Some have even adopted ‘sips on the sidewalk’ and ‘afternoon tea on the driveway.’

“I believe what is taking place in many neighbourhoods is an increase in conversation and a greater awareness of each other.”

According to David Morgan, the role of Christians is simple during self-isolation. “Right now, we have an incredible opportunity to love our local communities,” he says.

“We all have a common story, a common experience; we are all going through this together and, so, have a common starting point.”

“With the needs so great in every community, we have a huge opportunity now to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus to those around us.”

“The best sermons for me are not the preached ones but lived ones.” – David Morgan

Although Morgan recognises the difficulty of our times, he believes there is also the opportunity for church communities to meaningfully reflect and, possibly, make valuable changes for the future.

“I pray that [when] church communities come back together in person, they do not fall back into old, unhelpful patterns that are easy and comfortable – but they think carefully and prayerfully about the establishing of new patterns of doing and being church.”

“Now [there is the] opportunity for change to occur and I pray [church] leaders are wise in how they move forward.”

When asked about his hopes for the Christian community during the COVID-19 pandemic, Morgan sums it up like this: “The best sermons for me are not the preached ones but lived ones.”

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