weeks ago we ran an article by Pastor Jim Mullins called “Dinner
Table Diplomacy.” This is part two of
that reflection which is a leader’s guide for organizing a Peace Feast.
The Peace Feast is a
movement of “dinner clubs,” spread across the world, with each group frequently
gathering at international restaurants in order to learn about other cultures, enjoy
good conversation and seek the flourishing of their local community as well as the
Each group that
launches a Peace Feast will organize gatherings at international restaurants.
Some groups may want to focus on one particular restaurant while others may
rotate between various restaurants. The organizers will invite musicians,
speakers, artists, or other presenters who will help people experience some
aspect of the culture or a related global issue.
Starting a Peace Feast
Step 1: Identify Leaders.
Although this is a simple initiative it is helpful to have one or two clearly identified leaders. This person needs to be the liaison between the restaurant, the attendees, the speakers, and any other party involved.
Step 2: Identify a Core Community. It is helpful to have a core group of people who will “own” the Peace Feast. These people commit to attending, promoting, and helping facilitate the Peace Feast. This could be a student club, a church’s small group, a family, or a group of friends.
Step 3: Plan the first three events. It is helpful to have 2-3 events planned at a time. Doing this allows you to promote the event with plenty of lead-time. The other advantage is that you have time to find interesting speakers or presenters.
Step 4: Figure out your communication system. How are you going to get the word out? How are you going to get RSVPs? Peace Feast Phoenix has primarily used Facebook but other websites such as Meetup, Eventbrite, Wufoo etc., are also helpful.
different communities together. The Peace Feast is a
great night to bring together people from different backgrounds. It is public,
there is food, and the space for good conversation in a non-threatening
presenters whose content is connected to the country the restaurant represents.
you are at an Indian restaurant, then find an Indian presenter. If your feast is
hosted by a Lebanese restaurant, then find a Lebanese musician. Do not be too
stringent about this, but try to create synergy between the presenter and the
the group may rotate between restaurants, encourage individuals to focus on one
restaurant. The monthly Peace Feast event can be a
blessing to the restaurants, but also encourage individuals to visit the
restaurant more than once per month. While the Peace Feast may rotate between
restaurants, please encourage individuals to commit to one or two restaurants;
this provides them the opportunity to become frequent customers. Frequency will
eventually result in greater business for the restaurants and better friendship
with the staff.
the feasts around current events. Watch the news and
choose the restaurants based on whatever countries are “making the headlines.” It will draw a greater attendance and may
provide a needed (alternative) perspective.
respectful, not condescending, in the way you talk about the restaurant and its
staff. Remember, you are not doing this out of “charity” to
poor restaurant owners. Rather, your goal is to honor these owners. Many of
them are extraordinary people that you have much to learn from. They have lived
in multiple cultures, speak multiple languages, and run businesses. Those are
the restaurant plenty of advance notice. Most restaurants
like to prepare for large groups in advance so that they can order enough food
and schedule enough staff members.
people to tip well. Nothing else need be said!
screening questions on nights with controversial topics. Since
this is a public event, you cannot fully control who comes. The last thing you
want is for someone to use the Peace Feast as a personal soapbox, or to ask
rude questions. One way to screen questions is to have people write the
questions on a 3x5 card. Another option is to have people send you a text
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information or if you are interested in moving forward with a Peace
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Jim Mullins is pastor of teaching, communities, and cultural engagement at Redemption Church in Tempe, Arizona.