Imagine hosting 35 to 50 people for dinner once a week on a weeknight. That’s what George and Mary Lindquist, members of Ann Arbor (Mich.) Christian Reformed Church (AACRC), do every Tuesday night of the academic year for graduate students and others. They have been doing so for 50 years.
What began in 1967 as an opportunity to invite George’s sister and a few friends from the University of Michigan for dinner has since been expanded to serve many more. The Lindquists have continued to host these ever-growing dinners through three different homes. Their current home was designed especially to accommodate the weekly gatherings with a dining table for 16 and storage space for folding chairs and four round tables for eight.
Mary insists that there be candles on the table every time and that the dinners include a meat, a vegetable, and other options along with vegetarian and gluten-free choices. She bases each week’s dinner on what is on sale at the grocery store. Although the Lindquists never know how many or who will come for dinner, they have always been prepared. Over the years, many friends have provided regular help in preparing and serving the meals, including a few who themselves were previously shown hospitality at the Lindquists’ home. More recently the congregation has begun helping financially.
When Edmund Hodges-Kluck and his wife moved to Ann Arbor six years ago, they met Mary at church and were invited to dinner on Tuesdays. They were still getting to know people, so they figured they would try it out. They quickly made friends and eventually joined the Lindquists’ fellowship group at AACRC. Edmund called the dinner a well-oiled machine with a cast of cooks and helpers, now including him and his wife. “We feel that God used this to bring us into a good community,” he said.
The Lindquists continue to host these dinners because, as they say, they love students and want to support those away from home—international students and anyone in need of some rest, a home-cooked meal, and friendship.
A number of marriages have resulted from friendships developed at the Tuesday dinners, including that of George’s sister at the very first dinner. Other friendships have been forged, and some diners have joined together for various service projects. Occasionally the Lindquists also open their home for celebrations in the lives of some of their new friends. George said they want to stay close to young people, but especially they want the Lord to use them and their house.