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WELCOM! stands for We Epiphanites Like Conversation Over Meals! 

WELCOM! randomly forms casual small dinner groups of 6 to 8 adults—both singles and couples, with and without children—who gathers about once a month over a six-month cycle at different locations (mostly homes) for casual conversation over meals. 


  • Bert Bender, Organizer


You can click any of the blue buttons to join the group, or click a bulleted item below to jump to a topic and learn more.

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  • How will WELCOM! work?

    • When to gather?

    • Where to gather?

    • What to eat?

    • Who will be in my group?

    • When do we sign up?

    • What do we talk about?

Q:  I have no space or table to host …

Q:  I have food allergies …

Q:  I can’t cook! …

Q:  We have kids and don’t want to leave them …

Q:  I’m a single … it’s hard for me to host …

Q:  How do we know when we’ll gather?

Q:  Random Signups? Really?

History of Dinner Groups like WELCOM!

Once called “Foyers” at Epiphany, Foyers was a rotational home gathering concept that sprung after the bombing of Coventry Cathedral in World War II. Without a Cathedral, small groups of people began meeting to rebuild their community over modest meals and conversation. In time, foyers groups began springing up in parishes all over Britain and America. “Foyers” was a program a while ago at Epiphany, certainly in 2010, when Sabra Hanson organized the groups; Bill Graves tells us that in the 1980’s it was called “EGODS,” or Epiphany Groups of Dining and Socializing. Post-pandemic, many have wanted a return of these casual community connections. So, let’s do it—WELCOM! launched in October of 2023 and is a continuing parish group.

How will WELCOM! work?

Each person/couple/family will be randomly assigned to a group of 6 to 8 adults who will then coordinate with each other to decide When, Where, and What to eat when the group gathers.

  • When to Gather? The group will decide. Gatherings would be not more than two hours, normally.

    • Most common will probably be evening meals, could be weekdays or weekends. Could be lunch or brunch as well if that fits the group.

    • Gatherings might be about once a month, but could be more if that’s how the group gels!

    • Each time you gather there will be “host” responsible to coordinate and communicate the location and meal plan.


  • Where to gather? Gathering locations when you host can include:

    • your home,

    • a restaurant (with good acoustics please),

    • park picnic if the weather cooperates,

    • (with prior arrangement through Parish Office), Epiphany’s Parish Hall.

    • Another group member’s home, if willing (group members with more dining space can share their space multiple times even if another is “hosting” the cooking).


  • What to eat? Each host will decide. Meal Plans should be signaled to the WELCOM! Group in advance (so everyone can calibrate their appetites and hosts can plan their food purchases) and can be any of the following:

  1. Host provides a “main course” and others collaborate to bring sides, desserts, beverages, or

  2. Host provides just Desserts.  Or just Hors d ‘Oeuvres.  (Again, let everyone know in advance!), or

  3. Everyone “orders in” when you gather through delivery – maybe from one restaurant, many from more – and you share the cost fairly, or 

  4. Host provides all food and drink (you are not obligated to do that, but you may if you like), or

  5. Bring Your Own – either everyone is asked to bring something or an individual may elect to Bring Their Own Meal (especially if delicate dietary needs oblige – sharing conversation is the most important part, not sharing gluten, lactose or nuts!) – if you plan to BYO, let the host know!


  • Who will be in my group? Maybe someone you know, maybe someone new to you. Each WELCOM! group will be picked by random selection.

    • You can sign up together with your spouse/partner/significant other.

    • We will ask if you are OK being in a group that welcomes young people attended by parents in and around the table or the home, because we want families to be part of WELCOM! groups.

    • Depending on the kids, they may just “be there” in the house somewhere if it is “their” house, or where you set a place for them, whether “kids table” or TV room.

    • So, you can select “adults only” WELCOM! groups if you don’t want young interruptions.

    • (Parents of small children may elect this “adults only” option too and hire a babysitter—maybe from an Epiphany Youth?)

    • If you want another couple couples in your group, you’re probably already dining with them—keep it up, and join a WELCOM! group to meet new friends!

  • When do we sign up? Initial signup for the first six-month cycle of October through March is during the month of September; in March, a new signup will launch for new random groups in April through September.​

    • New participants in WELCOM! are ... welcome!       

    • Returning participants may (1) request to stay in your current WELCOM! group, (2) Join a new group at random (adults only or "kids WELCOM! too"), or (3) both join a new group and request to stay in your current WELCOM! group.

    • You'll find out who is in your group soon after the signup deadlines (October 1 and April 1).

    • Signups will remain open at all times, and new people may form a new WELCOM! group during a cycle or be added if there is space in a group.​

  • What do we talk about? Whatever you want to talk about. Get to know each other. Share your past and future, your memories and dreams. Travel. Sports. Arts. Religion. No Limits!

    • There is no requirement of religious content in conversation, though saying a “grace” would be meet and proper!

    • Nothing is off limits, so long as all are respectful about sharing and come out with stronger community connections.

I have more questions!

Q: I have no space or table to host a dinner party—how could I join a WELCOM! group?

A: By signing up here, your presence is your gift … when it is your turn to host, you have other options, whether at a restaurant or around a picnic table or camp chairs in a backyard or park (some other group members will love to let you use their home as your host location).


Q: I have food allergies or am very particular about what I’ll eat … how can I make sure the group has food suitable for me?

A: If you have food allergies, dietary restrictions, or strong taste preferences, let your group know your concerns at the beginning so that everyone understands what they must consider in preparing the menu. Also: it is also okay if you bring your own meal each time and just join in the conversation.


Q: I can’t cook! I don’t have time to learn! But I like to eat! And converse! What should I do?

A: Sign up to join a WELCOM! group, and it’s OK to “order in” or hit the Whole Foods “pre-made” meals. Many like Pizza, Thai, Moe’s, Chinese, Tacos and more!


Q: We have kids and don’t want to leave them when we go to a WELCOM! meal. What should we do?

A: Sign up that you are OK being in a group that welcomes young people attended by parents in and around the table or the home, and inform the host who you are bringing, and what you need to bring and do to help keep them occupied. Unless the host has announced a plan to feed young people, offer to bring the food and drink that your children will need. We do want enough time for adult conversation, but we’ll also delight in seeing kids in those groups—it will likely spring stories of kids in years gone by!


Q: I’m a single … it’s hard for me to host and do it all. How can this work for me?

A: Feel free to join up with one or more others from the group and make it a join hosting effort. Many WELCOM! participants have wanted more opportunities to host dinner parties, and would love your help in that!


Q: How do we know when we’ll gather?

A: Talk Amongst Yourselves! Email, text, use the rotary telephone, slip notes in the pew at church. We’ll ask if you want to be a “first” gathering host to get the ball rolling—then when you gather, you’ll decide when and where to meet and meal next. Hosts need to send reminders to everyone at least a week before to share your meal plan, especially if you are asking others to bring anything. A reminder a couple of days before is helpful too!


Q: Random Signups? Really? Even the Rector?

A: Yes, even the Rector. Everyone gets a random group for the six-month cycle. And a new group if/when you sign up again.

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