About 14 people gather regularly at a restaurant in Sarnia, Ont., for a Saturday morning breakfast. It’s a casual group made up of men and women from their mid-20s to their 80s. Some are beginning careers; others are long retired. Some have 30 years of marriage behind them; others have just a few years or none at all. They get together to share a meal and good conversation. And while they are all single, it’s not a typical “singles group.”
April Hodgson and Judy Schenk, members of First Christian Reformed Church in Sarnia, began the bimonthly breakfast, Table for Ones, in May 2017 as a way for single people to find connection and fellowship.
“I started attending church as a divorced adult without a Christian upbringing,” said Hodgson, “and quickly noticed that the cultural expectation/norm in the church seemed to be married with children.” New friends in the church assured her that she was not alone in being on her own, so she decided to set about finding others.
One of those new friends was Schenk, whose husband of 32 years had passed away about a year earlier. She and Hodgson discussed the idea—over breakfast—of gathering the “table for one” crowd to share one table together.
“There’s a bond you share when you’re on your own,” said Schenk. “Whether you’re divorced or widowed or have never been married . . . you kind of all look at life through the same glasses. It’s about learning to live with just yourself, learning to be content with who you are.”
Both Hodgson and Schenk describe Table for Ones as a community, not a program or committee. There is no RSVP, no agenda or assigned topic of conversation, no Bible study, no expectation of seeking a partner. They simply put the invitation out in the church bulletin and on Facebook and see who shows up. “I started going to Table for Ones, and it’s a great way to meet and socialize with other singles,” said Frank Feenstra, also of First CRC Sarnia.
“It’s as simple as just being people and getting to know people that we probably never knew up until we all became single, or were already single,” said Schenk.
Hodgson agreed. “There is a wealth of knowledge, understanding, welcoming, and learning involved in being a single Christian . . . that comes out spontaneously and beautifully every time we gather.”