Party of One: “They Were All Encouraged and Ate Some Food . . .”

00435SCRIPTURE VERSE: “After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.  They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.” ~ Acts 27:35-36 (NIV)

QUOTE: “I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary. ~ C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) English-born Baptist preacher & theologian.

00436Since our first Party of One gathering in November 2011, it’s become clearer to me how much I identify with those who are alone—and why. If I hadn’t been through an eight-year period of aloneness myself, I wouldn’t be able to empathize.

Why do I say that? Because I know me; I’m too self-centered.

The seed of the Party of One, A Fellowship for Those Tired of Dining Alone, was planted during the years I was widowed. It took many more years before it sprouted. Now, when I look out over a table (or tables) of people who have gathered to share a meal together, I am blessed to say, as Luke wrote about the church in Acts:  “They were all encouraged and ate some food . . .”

Unlike the little boy in the 1999 movie The Sixth Sense, I don’t “see dead people,” I see people alone, everywhere: in church, at the grocery store, in study groups, at the nail salon, in my writer’s critique group, in traffic, and in my book club.

Some of those who joined me early on at the Party of One feel the same. My co-conspirator Jerri Spearman is my lead Party of One evangelist. She invites single people she meets in restaurants, at work, and in stores. She even invited a woman with whom she got in a minor accident!

In a short time with little advertising, the Party of One contact list has grown from 20 to 65 people. Of the 65, 20 people came from my church; another 22 contacted me after an article about our group appeared in a local newspaper; 16 more arrived by word-of-mouth; and seven heard about us through my writer’s critique group.

My desire is for Party of One chapters to sprout and spread across the United States. I even offer some guidelines on this blog.

It’s such a simple idea, one that will continue to grow–not because of anything I do, but because God is in it.

TAKE ACTION: Whether you are alone or want to encourage someone who is, make a concerted effort to reach out to one other person this week. Maybe you’re not ready to start a Party of One chapter at this time, but you can share a meal with one other. I guarantee you’ll be blessed in return!

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