Getting together with the extended family for a meal is about the best thing in life.

For some of us it doesn’t happen often enough. The family live away, the house is too small, everyone is busy. But we know, when we get together at Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day,  that it’s special. We take photographs, talk about the event, laugh and cry at the outcome.

Families who function well often include others in these events. They remember the widowed auntie or the solitary cousin, or the family friend who is going to be on his own. Inviting them along doesn’t make much of a dent in the family jollity, but can mean the world to the outsider included.

Many faith communities are good at inclusion. Family for them doesn’t just mean blood relatives or relatives by marriage – it means the people for whom they have a care. Christian churches, in my experience, provide a loving community for all sorts of waifs and strays: the sad, the lonely and the peculiar.

So with that in mind, my parish church, St Saviour’s St Albans, has started “Families at Four” on every second Sunday at – surprise! four o’clock!  It’s designed for anyone who wants some family comfort, shared activity, and a simple meal.  We think this is what Jesus intended his followers to do – to meet and eat together, to have fun, praise God, and learn to love one another.  Check us out on