by S. Wardroper
"Table Conversations" is a unique event going on in the James Bay area, where people of all different backgrounds, faiths and non-faiths are meeting together to eat a meal and have provoking discussions with each other. There are almost no places in downtown Victoria where people can get into a deep conversation with others of different beliefs and talk about issues that are important and applicable to all.
On a Tuesday evening the hall at Church of our Lord is lit with tea lights and table lamps and hums with cafe-esque music and the conversations of about thirty young adults. They mill around the serving table table, piling plates with quiche and salad, freshly cooked by that night's volunteers. While food and small talk are pleasantly digested they sit in clusters of half a dozen around round tables. Once most of the remnants of the meal are gone from the plates one of the leaders gets up and introduces the conversation topic with some provoking questions.
The series of conversations is called "The Top Ten New Year's Resolutions of All Time", which kicked off with a belated New Year's party on February 9th. Each resolution is based on one of the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament. The first conversation, which was appropriately on Mardi Gras, was entitled "I will not lustfully eye your pancakes" was based on the commandment "Thou shall not covet". They had a big pancake party and talked about good, bad and the ugly sides of desires.
Hosted by The Table, a new churchplant in downtown Victoria, these conversations only have four rules: "Don't be a jerk, don't be a wuss, have grace, eat and be merry." Josh Wilton, the visionary leader of The Table, says that their aim is to create a "third place" for people to meet people and engage in meaningful discussion. Wilton says that beyond the "first" and "second" places of home and work, there is little facilitation to meet people and talk about things beyond a superficial level. This has been the aim of the Table Conversations series, and in the six weeks since they kicked off, over fifty people of all different backgrounds, faiths and beliefs have met together to eat and discuss.
The Table Conversations are for anyone who has "a pulse and opinion", according to their website www.tableconversations.ca. "Offend with a smile," Wilton says. They're not expecting everyone to agree, but they aren't out to push their doctrine on anyone. The only thing they'll force on you is their really, really good food.
If you're looking for some lively discussion and new friends, the doors of Church of our Lord on Humbolt and Blanshard open at 6:15 on Tuesday nights. The series continues until March 30th. To review previous week's discussions visit their blog tabletalking.wordpress.com