Once a month gatherings for 6-8 women that include enjoying a meal together and taking time to share pieces of their lives with one another. It is a place where believers and non believers in Jesus can experience community as they find connection in unexpected ways with one another.
At the heart of the Red Tent Dinner is a feeling of safety: women are invited to share with one another stories from their lives provoked by that evening’s theme with the understanding that they will not be judged, probed, rejected, or neglected as a result of their words. Listening plays a crucial role in a Red Tent Dinner as women at the table experience hearing and being impacted by the words of others without demanding more details or offering less of themselves as they listen.
Ultimately a Red Tent Dinner is designed to foster relationships which flow from the truth that one is known, heard and loved. The hope of the dinner is that it will encourage women who have attended to pursue such relationship with others on a daily basis.
Each woman contributes to the meal that is shared at the Red Tent Dinner. The hostess usually creates the main dish and can set the table as she desires, aware of that week’s theme. The other women bring appetizers, dessert, salad, and sides as necessary to complete the meal. If wine is being served we encourage no more than 1 bottle for every two women attending (2 full glasses per person).
Running the Dinner
As women arrive, it is our hope that the time would feel relaxed. Gather around the appetizer, share how your weeks went, enjoy one another. With the transition into dinner, the week’s theme can emerge and women can begin to share where their thoughts led and what stories came to their minds. Sharing can continue into dessert or dessert can commence after everyone has shared, depending on the size of the group. We want the dinner to feel safe and inviting and part of that dynamic includes a respect for everyone’s time. We tend to emphasize that a dinner should not exceed 2 hours, that way people don’t feel pressured or burdened by the event and understand what they are coming for prior to agreeing to be a part of the dinner.
It is important that women not ask questions or demand more details of a sharer as the dinner progresses. Each woman has the right to share exactly what she wishes and each woman has the privilege to hear what is shared and offer her own words in response without being invasive. Good responses begin with the words like, “I heard you say….” “What you shared touched me in this way…..”